Southern California went under for the 15th time in 18 games (15-2-1) in its 74-54 win over Oregon in Friday’s Pac-12 tournament semifinals at T-Mobile Arena.
Arizona outscored UCLA 11-0 in overtime to cover the spread in a 78-67 victory in Friday’s other Pac-12 semifinal, but the game still stayed under for the seventh time in the Wildcats’ past nine games.
Arizona is a 3½-point favorite over USC in Saturday’s Pac-12 title game, and the total is 144.
Arizona (-3½) over USC, 7 p.m.
Arizona-USC (Under 144)
Handicapper Bruce Marshall expects Deandre Ayton and the No. 15 Wildcats to cover the short price against the Trojans and for the teams to extend their trend of unders.
Arizona has won seven straight games against USC, including an 81-67 win Feb. 10 in Tucson. And Wildcats fans have turned T-Mobile Arena into their home away from home.
“That’s going to be a 95 percent Arizona crowd here tonight. It’s going to be like McKale Center north,” said Marshall (Goldsheet.com). “They beat SC pretty handily this year. Ayton will neutralize SC completely and Arizona will cover.
“The total is up in the 140s, and I think that’s too high. Arizona didn’t look all that sharp against UCLA. They weren’t shooting that great. This game is probably going to go under again, and Ayton’s going to be the difference.”
Bettors are all over the Wildcats at The Mirage, where sports book director Jeff Stoneback said the ticket count is 15-1 and money 10-1 in favor of Arizona.
“We are loaded up on Arizona at 3½. We’re going to go to 4 here,” he said Saturday afternoon moments before moving the number.
San Diego State-New Mexico (Under 150), 3 p.m.
Handicapper Bernie Fratto, an ESPN 1100 radio host, called the Aztecs’ upset of UNR in Friday’s Mountain West tournament semifinal at the Thomas & Mack Center after correctly predicting on local radio this week that San Diego State would advance to the title game. But his best bet in Saturday’s championship is on the under.
The Lobos have gone under in their past two games, and San Diego State had gone under in six straight games and nine of 10 before going over in its 90-73 rout of the Wolf Pack.
“The under’s a strong play. You’re going to see extreme, intense defense on both sides, especially in the first 10 minutes,” said Fratto (BernieFratto.com, @BernieFratto). “The Aztecs absolutely shot lights out (Friday), and they’re not going to do it two days in a row. You have two first-year coaches who are going to be cautious early. The possessions will be deliberate the first part of the game, they’ll both get back on defense, fly to the rim for rebounds and everything will be really contested.
“It’s going to be a real grinder. It will be played in the 60s. It’s not going to get over 150.”
San Diego State is favored by 4 or 4½ points at Las Vegas sports books. Stoneback said sharp action on New Mexico at plus 4½ caused MGM Resorts sports book to move the line to 4, but public money on the Aztecs at 4 has since pushed the number back to 4½.
North Carolina (+3½) over Virginia, 5:30 p.m.
Stoneback said sharp action on the Tar Heels at plus 4½ drove the line to 3½. The public is playing Virginia.