USC vs. Oregon State Odds, Picks & Predictions: Bet Underdog in Pac-12 Affair
Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images. Pictured: Akili Arnold (Oregon State)
- The Oregon State Beavers host the USC Trojans in a highly anticipated Pac-12 contest.
- Can the Beavers pull off the upset or will the Trojans pass a tough road test?
- Collin Wilson previews this matchup and shares his best bet below.
USC vs. Oregon State Odds
Undefeated USC hits the road once again in a grudge match against a fellow Pac-12 undefeated team in Oregon State.
The Trojans’ road win over Stanford may have been in front of empty seats at The Farm, but a sold out Reser Stadium may give USC the first experience of a hostile crowd.
The Lincoln Riley era has started off perfectly from a turnover perspective, as the Trojans lead the nation at +10 thanks to no offensive interceptions or fumbles heading into Week 4.
Oregon State looks to defend Corvallis, as the Beavers have covered eight of its last nine at home. Head coach Jonathan Smith has done well at the program, as his name has come to the front of teams with a coaching vacancies.
The Beavers have covered in all three victories this season, including an underdog road spot against Fresno State. This is one of the Pac-12’s best offensive teams, but the question remains if anyone can limit turnovers against the opportunistic Trojans.
There was never a doubt this would be one of the elite offenses in college football.
Through three games, quarterback Caleb Williams has not disappointed while rising up the Heisman odds.
The sophomore transfer has eight passing touchdowns and no interceptions, while recording just two Turnover Worthy Plays in 101 drop backs.
The designed runs from Riley’s offense at Oklahoma have followed to Southern California, where Williams is already at 140 rushing yards on the year.
The quarterback is the third-leading rusher behind Oregon transfer Travis Dye and the explosive Austin Jones.
Austin Jones has no fear 😳
His helmet gets ripped off and he continues to make his run pic.twitter.com/T3eIW4QOr6
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 18, 2022
Jones averages 8.2 yards per carry, with an astounding 4.6 yards after contact. Seven of Jones’ 24 rushing attempts have exceeded 10 yards, giving the Trojans a boost to an offense that entered the season with star power.
The Trojans are the best team in the nation in Offensive Line Yards, with a rank of 13th in both Rush and Passing Success Rate.
Despite having the 2021 Biletnikoff winner in Jordan Addison on the outside, the Trojans are dominating on the ground first and maintaining the ninth-best rate of staying in standard downs on offense.
The defense has been opportunistic with 10 turnovers through three games. Coordinator Alex Grinch has always been a Havoc-minded coach from Washington State to Oklahoma. USC is ninth in defensive Havoc thanks to 26 tackles for loss and 17 passes defensed.
After games against Fresno State, Rice and Stanford, the Trojans’ defense ranks second in Defensive Rushing Success Rate.
Although Oregon State is a run-heavy offense, the back seven of USC is graded 51st in coverage and outside the top 100 in allowing Passing Downs Explosiveness.
Smith continues to field offenses that score in bunches, as the Beavers put up 68 on Montana State last week. Although the Bobcats are from the FCS, the team has playoff experience and came to Corvallis as just a 17-point underdog.
In previous games against Fresno State and Boise State, the Beavers threw for a combined 511 yards.
Quarterback Chance Nolan has an eight-to-two ratio in Big Time Throws to Turnover Worthy Plays through 83 drop backs. A large portion of the targets have come to Tre’Shaun Harrison, posting a large 3.2 yards per route run.
Tre'Shaun Harrison went CRAZY💨
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2022
For Oregon State to win against the USC, the turnovers must be eliminated. The Beavers are 11th in turnover margin thanks to eight total gained against a fumble lost and two interceptions.
Smith has preached ball protection and posted two straight clean games after three turnovers in the opener to Boise State. The head coach remarked that the Beavers must create chaos in generating turnovers against the USC offense.
The Beavers are 43rd in defensive Havoc, forcing just two fumbles on the season with above-average numbers in pass breakups and tackles for loss.
This has been a stingy defense in terms of scoring opportunities, ranking 10th in Finishing Drives. The Beavers are top-25 in defensive passing EPA, but there has been a lack of strength from opposing offenses on their schedule.
The Beavers will look to play boom-or-bust on the defensive side, looking to get the ball on the carpet by any means necessary.
The biggest question is if Oregon State can cause enough Havoc to rattle the USC offense, as any missed tackles could result in an easy score for the Trojans.
USC vs. Oregon State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how USC and Oregon State match up statistically:
USC Offense vs. Oregon State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Oregon State Offense vs. USC Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||90||130|
|Seconds per Play||28.1 (98)||28.8 (112)|
|Rush Rate||52.0% (81)||59.2% (35)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
USC vs. Oregon State Betting Pick
Will the Oregon State defense be able to provide any resistance to the USC offense? The answer to any team outside of the top 10 may be a resounding no, but limiting turnovers and keeping pace on the scoreboard is a formula to get within a possession during the fourth quarter.
Oregon State ranks 116th in pass rush on the season, indicating the Beavers are content to drop players into coverage and prevent explosive plays. The defense is 10th nationally in tackling, assisted by safeties Jaydon Grant and Kitan Oladapo, who have yet to record a missed tackle in 351 combined snaps.
Limiting explosiveness and scoring opportunities while generating some Havoc is the formula. The Oregon State defense has been excellent limiting opponents past the 40-yard line, allowing just 2.9 points in 17 attempts.
Will this be the game the USC defense finds an offense that can test the back seven?
Nolan will take advantage of a defense that is 61st in Defensive Passing Success Rate. The third-year quarterback has been excellent under pressure this season, with just a single Turnover Worthy Play and an adjusted completion percentage drop of just 5% versus a clean pocket.
The good news for Nolan is having tackle Taliese Fuaga, the highest-ranked pass blocker on the offensive line that is expected to draw Tuli Tuipulotu from USC.
TULI TUIPULOTU With the SACK❕💫
Trojans Lead 14-7 🏈 pic.twitter.com/fgHSMEtElA
— Scott Schrader (@Scott_Schrader) October 30, 2021
The Action Network projection has USC as 6.5-point favorites with a total of 66.5. Although this game is lined above 70 in the total, there is a high chance of explosive touchdowns from plenty of skill position players on both sides of the ball.
Both of the special teams have poor rankings, as USC is 90th and Oregon State is 130th, per SP+.
There will be points in this game, but the home underdog has the skill position players and plenty of arm strength at quarterback to keep pace with the Trojans.
All that is needed is continued success in Havoc Allowed for Oregon State.