Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#791 Portland vs.
#792 USC
Friday, November 8, 2019 at 11:00pm EST
L.A. Memorial Stadium, Los Angeles
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#791 University of Portland
#792 University of Southern California
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The USC Trojans will host the Portland Pilots in inter-conference play Friday night from the Galen Center. The Pilots finished last season with a 7-25 record and tallied an 86-36 win against DIII Willamette in their season opener. The Trojans tallied an easy 77-48 win against Florida A&M in their season opener and went 16-17 in regular-season play in 2018-2019.

Rebuilding Portland Posts Win in Season Opener

The Portland Pilots have nowhere to go but up after a disastrous 2018-2019 season. It won’t be easy as they lost two of their top three scorers. The Pilots did not register a conference win last year. They opened the season with an 86-36 win against DIII Willamette on Tuesday night. Portland will be relying on Jojo Walker to be an offensive catalyst. The junior guard logged an average of 11.5 points on 39% shooting last year, and he netted 10 points in Tuesday’s victory.

The Pilots are hoping Tahirou Diabate can increase his production significantly this season. The junior forward has the size to his advantage and he posted 5.7 PPG on a 54.4% clip from the field last season. Portland also added Isaiah White on a transfer from Maine. The senior guard could potentially lead the team in scoring this season after averaging a solid 13.5 points on 41% shooting in 2018-2018. White scored 11 points on Tuesday night. Also back is Hugh Hogland who averaged 4.4 points last year.

The Pilots were projected to finish in last place in the WCC preseason poll. Portland scored an average of only 64.9 points last year, ranking them down at 333rd in the country. The Pilots defense was an issue as they allowed an average of 74.7 points, placing them 260th overall.

USC Enters Season with Optimism

The USC Trojans' easy schedule continues in this one. They did as expected and registered a 77-48 home win against Florida A&M last week in a game that had USC favored by 27 points. USC lost their top scorer in Bennie Boatwright who averaged 18.2 points but return plenty of talent. Nick Rakocevic should be a leader on this team. The senior forward logged 14.7 points per game and a remarkable 9.3 rebounds last season. Rakocevic only scored four points in limited minutes in Tuesday’s season opener. Also returning is Jonah Mathews. The senior guard is a threat from deep. He logged a 39% efficiency from beyond the arc and averaged 12.6 ppg in 2018-2019.

The Trojans are expected to be an improved team after finishing just under the .500 mark last season. They feature a few five-star recruits that will make an immediate impact. Isaiah Mobley is a power forward who was one of the top recruits in the country and Onyeka Okongwu is a 6-foot-9 forward with great defensive abilities. Okongwu flashed his potential in the season opener, accumulating 20 points.

USC was voted to finish in fifth place in the PAC-12 in the preseason media poll. The Trojans averaged a solid 76.3 points last season, ranking them 80th overall. They conceded an average of 73 points, pegging them 219th in the country.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I anticipate a decisive home win from USC in this one. This is a huge mismatch. Portland is in for a rough season. They posted an abysmal 7-25 record last season, and they lost their top two scoring threats from that squad. Portland won their season opener but it was against a DIII school.

Furthermore, USC is expected to be in the top half of a very good PAC-12 this season. USC returns Nick Rakocevic who should have his way in both ends of the court in this game. Rakocevic averaged 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds last season, and Jonah Mathews logged 12.6 PPG. USC won their season opener by a 77-48 score against Florida Atlantic and I expect a similar result in this one.

Prediction: USC Trojans

Full-Game Total Pick

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I expect the under to cash. Portland was one of the lowest-scoring teams in the country last season as they only averaged 65 points. They are going to have trouble against a USC team hat held Florida Atlantic to 48 points on Tuesday night. Also, the under is 4-1 in the Pilots’ last five road games.

In addition, while I definitely expect a big performance from USC in the offensive end, I don’t expect the figure to be high enough for the over to hit as the Trojans should completely silence Portland similar to Tuesday’s result. The under is 20-7 in the Trojans’ last 27 home games and that trend should prevail in this one.

Prediction: Under

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The under on the Portland team total available on PointsBet is a good play. The Pilots only shot 41% as a team last year which placed them 315th in the country. USC has the decisive rebounding advantage and I expect them to dominate the boards which means less time of possession for the Pilots. Also, USC held opponents to 42% shooting last season and that was mostly against the strong PAC-12.

Prediction: Portland Team Total Under

Half-Time Side Pick

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I expect USC to take control early. USC will probably utilize their top scorers in the first half and if the score gets out of hand they will likely turn to their bench in the second half. USC held Florida Atlantic to only 23 points in the first half in their season opener.

Prediction: USC Trojans
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.