Arizona State vs. USC Odds & Picks: Can Sun Devils Cover in Coliseum?
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones.
- USC hosts Arizona State in a Pac-12 after dark special.
- The Trojans are heavily favored, but can ASU do enough to cover?
- B.J. Cunningham breaks down this matchup and shares his best bet below.
Arizona State vs. USC Odds
|Arizona State Odds|
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Arizona State is a zombie right now. Herm Edwards has been fired, there has been a lot that has come out about what was going on behind the scenes, and the play on the field has been horrible as they have gone winless against FBS opponents.
USC survived a scare in Corvallis on Saturday night, narrowly beating Oregon State, 17-14. This was the first game that Lincoln Riley's offense wasn't moving the ball the way we've become accustomed to.
We'll see if they can get things back on track at home on Saturday night.
Sun Devils Offense
The Sun Devils were active in the transfer portal this offseason as they attempted to rebuild their offense.
They got Emory Jones from Florida to play quarterback, Xazavian Valladay from Wyoming to play running back, Bryan Thompson from Utah to play wide receiver, and four different offensive linemen. It's what teams have to do in today's college football landscape if they return only three starters on offense.
So far, the returns from all of those transfers have not paid off because Arizona State is one of the worst Power Five offenses in college football. The Sun Devils rank 128th in Success Rate, 114th in Finishing Drives and 123rd in EPA/Play.
Emory Jones has struggled to throw the ball, averaging 7.4 yards per attempt and putting up a 67.7 PFF passing grade. He does have dual-threat ability but is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry.
Valladay has struggled to run the ball behind an offensive line that cannot get a push up front.
The Sun Devils rank 127th in offensive Line Yards and 88th in PFF run-blocking grade. They will have to attack this USC defense on the ground if they want to have any success on offense.
Sun Devil Defense
Arizona State only brought back four starters on the defensive side of the ball but did add a ton of players through the transfer portal, mainly in the secondary.
Much like the offense, the returns from the portal on defense have been underwhelming. The Sun Devils have given up 6.1 yards per play and rank 102nd in Success Rate Allowed and 90th in EPA/Play Allowed.
With that being said, they have been decent against the run. The Sun Devils are 58th in EPA/Rush Allowed and surprisingly ninth in explosive rushing allowed. They brought back two of their top three tacklers in their linebacking corps, so they may be able to slow down USC running back Travis Dye.
The secondary has been poor, allowing 7.7 yards per attempt and ranking 105th in EPA/Pass Allowed. It's going to be tough to watch this unit take on one of the best passing attacks in the country.
USC has maybe the most talented offense in all of college football, and Lincoln Riley has them rolling in 2021. However, last Saturday they were not impressive at all, gaining just 4.9 yards per play with only a 40% Success Rate.
What was even more shocking is that they moved the ball inside the Oregon State 40-yard line six times and came away with just 17 points.
Caleb Willams has not played up to the level that he showed at Oklahoma, as his PFF numbers show he's only been above average at best.
Image via PFF
Even though his numbers may not be up to par with where we expect him to be, it helps when the Biletnikoff Award winner transfers in to become the No. 1 target. Consequently, Jordan Addison has come in and made an immediate impact as he already has 337 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
JORDAN ADDISON GOES THE DISTANCE 😱 pic.twitter.com/sh62Bcomdl
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 11, 2022
Dye has been amazing for the Trojans carrying the rock behind an incredibly experienced offensive line. He's averaging 7.3 yards per carry and already has 11 runs over 10 yards on only 49 attempts.
USC’s offense line opens up a huge lane for Travis Dye, who takes it to the house. USC 35, Stanford 14 pic.twitter.com/SChDnYLvRJ
— Keely Eure (@keelyismyname) September 11, 2022
It's going to be a long night for the Arizona State defense.
While the USC offense has looked incredible, the same cannot be said for the defense.
Riley brought over Alex Grinch from Oklahoma to be his defensive coordinator in Los Angeles. Grinch is installing a new 3-4 scheme, with what he dubs "speed D." Well, "speed D" was 89th in EPA/Play Allowed at Oklahoma last season, and this season it's 82nd in EPA/Play.
The Trojans cannot stop the run to save their lives right now. They are allowing 4.8 yards per carry (101st in FBS), rank 125th in EPA/Rush and 96th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. I guess that's what happens when only two starters return in the front seven and impactful transfers don't come in.
USC has been better in the secondary, ranking 25th in PFF coverage grade and EPA/Pass.
However, USC is due for a ton of turnover regression. Do you want to know why the Trojans are 82nd in EPA/Play but allow only 19 points per game? It's because they've forced 14 turnovers in just four games. That's not sustainable, and teams will light up the scoreboard when the turnover regression turns on the Trojans.
Arizona State vs. USC Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arizona State and USC match up statistically:
Arizona State Offense vs. USC Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
USC Offense vs. Arizona State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||19||110|
|Seconds per Play||29.2 (116)||27.2 (81)|
|Rush Rate||54.0% (62)||51.7% (82)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Arizona State vs. USC Betting Pick
USC opened as a 17.5-point favorite and has been bet up as high -27, but the line has come back down to settle at the Trojans -25.5.
That's too big of a spread for a defense that's this bad and due for major turnover regression — even if it is playing a walking corpse of a team in Arizona State.
I only have the Trojans projected at -20, so I'm going to take the value on Arizona State +25.5.