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California vs. USC - 1/4/18 College Basketball Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USC Trojans (10-5) at California Golden Bears (7-7)
Date & Time Thursday January 4, 2018, 10:30 PM (EST)
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The Line
The Line: California Golden Bears +6.5 -- Over/Under:
TV Channel
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We’ve got college basketball coming our way on Thursday evening from Haas Pavilion as the USC Trojans and the California Golden Bears meet up in an intrastate rivalry game. 

USC is coming in at 10-5 this season overall. The Trojans have won six of their last eight games, with the most recent win coming against Washington State on Sunday. In that one, USC’s Elijah Stewart scored 17 points. 

On the year, Chimezie Metu is the leading Trojans scorer with 17.8 PPG and a team-high 7.6 RPG, while Benie Boatwright has 16.8 PPG and 7.0 RPG. Also in double-figures for USC are Jordan McLaughlin (12.9 PPG; 8.0 APG) and Stewart (12.5 PPG). 

Over on the California side, they’re sitting at 7-7 this year. The Bears have won four of their last five games, and took out Stanford in their last game on Saturday. In that Cardinal matchup, California forward Marcus Lee posted 19 points. 

Don Coleman is the leading scorer for Cal this year with 20.1 PPG, and Darius McNeill is second on 13.4 PPG. Also in the double-digit club for the Golden Bears are Lee (12.6 PPG. 7.8 RPG) and Justice Sueing (12.0 PPG). 

The Trojans are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games and 4-1 ATS in their last five overall. The over is 4-0 in USC’s last four overall and 8-3 in their last 11 road games. 

Meanwhile, the Bears are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Thursday games and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games. Cal is also 1-4 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win and the over is 4-0 in their last four versus the Pac-12. 

USC is built pretty well this season, and they’ve got their bases covered statistically on the top end. The drawback here is that the Trojans are susceptible to lapses against lesser teams (Princeton, Washington, Oklahoma, etc.) and aren’t as reliable as one would hope. As for Cal, their recent wins have come against some mediocre-to-bad teams, and they had to crawl back from 17 points down against Stanford. All things considered, I think California has enough scoring to keep pace here, though.

California Golden Bears +6.5

Andrew has been with Sports Chat Place since 2012, contributing to football, baseball and basketball across the fantasy, college and professional ranks. His goal is to break down the complicated trends and numbers into a language that's accessible even if you're not a seasoned sports bettor, providing comprehensive insight that can apply to just about everyone. Follow Andrew on Twitter for links to his latest Sports Chat Place picks. 

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