USC 2019 Betting Guide: Clay Helton Can’t Turn This Thing Around

USC 2019 Betting Guide: Clay Helton Can’t Turn This Thing Around article feature image
Credit:

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: USC and JT Daniels

USC 2019 Betting Odds

  • National Title: 200-1
  • To Win the Pac 12: 8-1
  • To Make the Playoff: 50-1
  • Win Total: 7

USC Schedule, Projected Spreads

What to Like About USC

Give credit to the administration for realizing change was needed on offense. The hiring and subsequent departure of Kliff Kingsbury was an attempt to get better on the offensive side of the ball.

The offensive coordinator position was filled by Graham Harrell, who has spent the last three seasons as North Texas and played at Texas Tech under Mike Leach.

Graham Harrell said every position is open to competition. He has no preconceived notions. He thinks JT Daniels is very talented, but he wants to simplify things and give every one of the quarterbacks a chance. Use their talent and not think too much. See which one does it best.

— Ryan Abraham (@insidetroy) February 25, 2019

The hiring of Harrell is a positive for USC, which has had a decline in offensive S&P+ from 12th to 16th to 46th over the past three years. There is a quarterback competition even with last year’s true freshman starter JT Daniels in the mix. Both Jack Sears and Matt Fink will push Daniels, who had issues grasping Harrell’s system through the spring.

North Texas had offensive success rate and IsoPPP ranks in the top 40 last year, and USC fans can expect a similar boost thanks to Harrell and an ultra-talented receiving corps.

What Could Cause Problems

The defense continues to decline under defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. Other off-field issues do not help the coach who has seen a decline in most defensive statistics over the past three years. The Trojans lost five of the last six games in 2018, including a loss to rival UCLA, which scored 34 points.

Other Nugget(s)

There might be no coach on a hotter seat this season than Clay Helton. Athletic Director Lynn Swann has given a vote of confidence, but nothing in the 2019 schedule screams bounce back.

The Trojans will face Stanford, BYU, Utah and Washington in September alone. The schedule certainly lightens in the second half, but there is a real possibility Helton is heading into a bye week at 1-4.

Speaking of bye week, USC differs from most FBS schools in having just one period of extra rest. The Trojans will wrap up their regular season before Thanksgiving. That would potentially setup extra rest for the Pac-12 Championship Game if they can get there, but a cross-division draw of Washington, Stanford and Oregon is brutal.

Bets to Watch

The Action Network win total projects 6.1 for USC. With oddsmakers locked in at 7, a Trojans over would need an upset Utah, Washington, Notre Dame or Oregon while sweeping the remaining schedule.

It certainly isn’t impossible, but this is the toughest schedule in the country through mid-October. Graham Harrell or Clancy Pendergast may find themselves with an interim tag before Halloween.

With this many potholes on the schedule, combined with a number of quarterbacks looking to grasp the system add a USC Under 7 to your betting portfolio.

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