The highly anticipated USC basketball season began earlier this week. The Trojans, who have a lot of new, highly regarded NCAAF players on the roster, earned an 82-69 win over Kansas State on Monday.
Now they’ll get a non-power five contest against Cal State Bakersfield tonight.
The Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners earned a nail-biting win against Southern Utah to kick off their season, 73-72.
That was a big win for a team that oddsmakers have as one of the worst teams in the Big West this season. But don’t get it mistaken. The Roadrunners were a 4-point favorite and only won by one.
Therefore, oddsmakers have given the Roadrunners have a very low probability of winning tonight’s game on the road against a top-25 team in the Sagarin ratings.
USC is currently -24 (-110) at home, with the total as high as 141.
It’s more than likely that USC will win this game. The real question is if the Trojans can cover the massive spread.
Take a look at the Cal St vs USC betting odds for Thursday’s college basketball tilt.
Location: Galen Center
Cal St vs USC Betting Odds
It would be silly to base any of our analysis on other seasons. Every college basketball team changes players at a ridiculous pace.
However, as acknowledged above, Cal State Bakersfield didn’t cover their spread against Southern Utah as four-point favorites. However, the game went Over the total of 138.5.
On the other hand, USC added an 82-69 win over Kansas State on the road as 3-point favorites. The Trojans covered and pushed the total over 147.
USC has invited Cal State Bakersfield to Galen Center twice before. USC earned a four-point win against them in 2013 and won by 15 points in 2018 as a 14-point favorite. The Over of 141.5 hit in that game.
Bronny James Ruled Out To Start The Season
The long-awaited debut of Bronny James will have to wait a little longer. Bronny, the son of NBA star LeBron James, suffered cardiac arrest during a team workout in July. He successfully underwent surgery to repair a congenital heart defect.
Bronny is progressing every day and is doing rehab. He has one of the many college basketball injuries that were sustained earlier in training camp. However, his was the scariest of them all.
If he can pass a medical examination later this month, he can return to practice and play for the Trojans when conference games roll around.
Clutch is Kaleb Higgins’ Middle Name
The Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners wouldn’t have won their first game without Kaleb Higgins.
Higgins played in 31 minutes and took 23 shots. He made 11 of them, and despite going 1-for-6 from three, Higgins finished with 27 points, two assists, two rebounds, and four foul shots.
Higgins was fouled with .8 seconds to go, down one, and nailed two foul shots to send the Roadrunners home happy.
Lots Of Second Chances
Again, as the weeks go, we’ll have more data and be more confident with our selections.
Basing our predictions off the first NCAAB matchups, it was clear to see that both teams struggled on the defensive glass. The Trojans allowed 42.6% of offensive rebounds against Kansas State, while Cal State Bakersfield gave up 50% of offensive rebounds.
USC has a lot of length and should dominate inside against a weaker Cal State Bakersfield team. After all, USC added 32.3% of offensive rebounds against a very talented Kansas State team to begin the season.
The D-1 average is typically 30.1% of offensive rebounds. So, seeing both teams allowing more than 42% is concerning.
The Trojans played solid defense against Kansas State. They held the Wildcats to a 36.6% effective field goal percentage and earned 22.2% of turnovers. However, the Roadrunners shot a 48.4% effective field goal percentage and only turned the ball over 18.7% of the time. Cal State Bakersfield also hit 92.3% of foul shots in their first game.
On the other hand, USC added an effective field goal percentage of 55.8%. They had four guys in double-figures, with senior Boogie Ellis leading the way with 24 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, a freshman, Isaiah Collier, scored 18 points on 77.8% from the field while earning six assists against Kansas State.
The Trojans hit nearly 79% from the foul line and were 65% from inside the arc. USC didn’t have much success from downtown, but against Cal State Bakersfield, you can expect dominance inside the paint.
Off the misses, USC will earn second chances. Plus, it’s also unlikely that USC turns the ball over much. Against Kansas State, the Trojans turned the ball over 23.5% of the time. But the Roadrunners earned only 12.5% of turnovers against Southern Utah in their first game.
If USC can protect the ball, shoot better from deep, take care of the misses, and work the glass, the Trojans should earn a dominant win against Cal State Bakersfield.
The bulk of games this week on the NCAAB slate will be on Friday and Saturday. Therefore, the Cal St vs USC Betting Odds have USC at -25.5 (-110). USC against the spread is one of the best NCAAB bets today.