College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Oregon State vs. USC: Your Betting Guide for Late Pac-12 Matchup (Sept. 25)
Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Drake London.
Oregon State vs. USC Odds
|Oregon State Odds||+11 (+105)|
|USC Odds||-11 (-115)|
|Moneyline||+360 / -490|
|Over/Under||63 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
The Oregon State Beavers travel south to Los Angeles to battle the USC Trojans Saturday night at the Coliseum.
The Beavers suffered a 30-21 road loss to Purdue in Week 1, but they bounced back against lesser competition the last two weeks as they beat Hawai’i, 45-27, in Week 2 and shut out Idaho, 42-0.
The Trojans beat the defending Mountain West champions, San Jose State, in Week 1, 30-7, but they were upset in Week 2 as 17-point underdogs when Stanford smacked them around by a final score of 42-28 at home.
The Trojans fired head coach Clay Helton the following Monday and elevated associate head coach Donte Williams to the interim head coach role.
Williams’ first game as coach was an adventure.
Starting quarterback Kedon Slovis went down early with a neck injury, and true freshman Jaxson Dart stepped in. Dart struggled early on as the Trojans fell behind, 14-0, to Washington State on the Palouse, but Dart settled in and the Trojans finished the game on a 45-0 run.
Both teams sit at 2-1 on the season, but each team is looking for its first Pac-12 win of the season when they clash Saturday night on Pac-12 After Dark.
Oregon State vs. USC Betting Preview
Oregon State Offense
Chance Nolan began last season as a true freshman backup quarterback and was thrust into action after the Beavers’ starting quarterback, Tristan Gebbia, suffered a hamstring injury against Oregon.
Nolan didn’t look ready to lead the Beavers’ offense as a passer, although he did show some flashes in the three games he started (all losses).
This year, Gebbia remained (and remains) sidelined when the season started, but Colorado transfer Sam Noyer got the nod over Nolan as the starting quarterback in Week 1.
Noyer struggled mightily against Purdue in the opener, and Nolan got a chance to play in the fourth quarter and impressed, as he led two touchdown drives.
The sophomore hasn’t looked back since as he has recorded a QBR of at least 89 in all three games this season. This is a huge step in the right direction for him as a passer because in all three of his starts last season, he recorded middling QBRs between 47 and 60.
Pairing Nolan’s emergence as a passer with the quality run blocking in front of running back B.J. Baylor has made this Oregon State offense dangerous.
The Beavers have had success pounding the ball on the ground despite the departure of Jermar Jefferson to the NFL, and they rank first nationally in Finishing Drives.
Oregon State Defense
Linebacker Avery Roberts leads the Oregon State defense that has been stout against the run so far this season. The Beavers rank 31st in Defensive Line Yards and fifth in Havoc.
OSU has had a relatively easy schedule to this point, so we will learn a lot more about this defense against a step up in competition this week.
The Beavers pass rush will need to step up if they hope to cover or pull the upset. They rank 110th nationally in pass rush, so they need playmakers to step up and get Slovis (or Dart) uncomfortable in the pocket, or else it could be a long night.
The talented USC receivers should have the advantage over the Oregon State cornerbacks, so it is imperative that the Beavers have a consistent pass rush.
Dart was so impressive on Saturday that many USC fans began calling for him to supplant Slovis as the starting quarterback. After the game, Williams said that there would be a competition between the two this week in practice.
Slovis has been back practicing, but Dart has missed the last few days as he is dealing with a knee injury. It’s unclear how this affects his status for Saturday, but I would be surprised if Slovis wasn’t the starter at this point.
Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the Trojans will continue to air the ball out consistently with their Air Raid offense that ranks 121st in rush rate.
The Beavers rank 110th in pass rush, and the USC offensive line ranks 34th in pass blocking, so the Trojans should find success through the air.
The USC offense is led by physical receiver and former USC basketball player Drake London. At six-foot-five and 210 pounds, he is a mismatch on the outside, and if the Trojans can get him one-on-one matchups, they will target him all night. London ranks fourth nationally with 375 receiving yards on the season.
Other receivers like Kyle Ford and transfer Tahj Washington will also play important roles in the passing game. Colorado transfer KD Nixon has recorded just one catch for five yards this season, but he also is expected to be a factor.
The USC rushing offense was stagnant last week after better showings against San Jose State and Stanford, and bruising running backs Vavae Malepeai and Keaontay Ingram will get the lion’s share of carries.
The USC defense went its first two games of the season without tallying a single sack or quarterback hurry. This was surprising because the defensive line, led by junior edge defender Drake Jackson, was supposed to be a strength for the Trojans this season.
USC fans were excited to see this unit bounce back against the Cougars in Week 3 as Jackson got his first sack of the year.
The Trojans sacked Cougar quarterbacks three times and pitched a second-half shutout after Washington State’s starting quarterback Jayden de Laura left the game with an injury.
The Trojans pass rush will have their hands full with dual-threat quarterback Nolan and the Oregon State rushing offense. The Beavers offensive line will pose a bigger challenge in the run game than the pass game as they rank 21st in Line Yards and 14th in Rush Success Rate.
The Trojans defense ranks 11th in Defensive Line Yards and 36th in Rush Success Rate, so this strength-on-strength matchup will likely decide if the Beavers can cover or even pull the upset.
Oregon State vs. USC Matchup Analysis
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Oregon State Offense vs. USC Defense
USC Offense vs. Oregon State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Oregon State vs. USC Betting Pick
Given the uncertainty of the USC quarterback situation, I don’t love the value of the Trojans on the spread. I lean toward the Beavers here at +11, but I really don’t know if I can trust the defense yet.
The improvement from Nolan has been impressive, and if the Beavers defense looks good this week, I won’t be afraid to bet them outright next week when they host an overrated Washington team.
Instead, I like the value on the total at 61.5. Both offenses should have the advantage, and I expect plenty of big plays.
The Beavers offense ranks 21st in big plays, and both offenses should have success converting successful drives into touchdowns as each team ranks among the top six nationally in Finishing Drives.
This USC team has a greater sense of urgency after the firing of Helton, and in the first game back at the Coliseum since the bloodbath against the Cardinal, its offense will step up against an overmatched Oregon State defense — whether Slovis or Dart leads it.
Meanwhile, Oregon State’s offense will also find success with the underrated Nolan leading it.
I’m not sure how successful Oregon State will be running the ball against USC, but Nolan is good enough to make plays with his arm and legs and push the final score over the total in a shootout.
I love the value on over 61.5 and will bet it up to 65.