Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: KJ Costello
USC-Stanford Betting Guide
- Odds: Stanford -6
- Over/Under: 55.5
- Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX
>> All odds as of 2 p.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
USC beat Stanford twice last season en route to a Pac-12 title — will revenge be on the Cardinal’s mind?
The Trojans struggled against UNLV last week before pulling away in the fourth quarter. Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello looked great against San Diego State, but the Cardinal couldn’t get the running game going.
Time to dig deeper.
Market Moves for USC-Stanford
Public money has moved Stanford from -4 to -6, as the Cardinal have attracted 76% of bettors to this point.
While sharps haven’t taken a side, they have hit the over, causing the total to rise two points despite 53% of bettors taking the under.
Key Injuries for USC-Stanford
If you watched the Stanford-San Diego State game, you couldn’t help but notice the lack of push on the Stanford offensive line. The Aztec defensive line absolutely dominated in the trenches, which prevented Bryce Love from ever getting on track (18 attempts for 29 yards).
Well, one of the reasons for those struggles was the Cardinal didn’t have potential All-American center Jesse Burkett. Instead, they had to roll with redshirt freshman Drew Dalman. The drop-off was significant, and Burkett was ruled out once again for this upcoming weekend.
Speaking of offensive line issues, USC should get its center and team captain Toa Lobendahn back this week (he missed last week), but the Trojans are dealing with a number of injuries along the line.
Trends to Know
By John Ewing
In all regular-season games since 2005, the favorite has received a majority of spread tickets in more than 80% of games. Casual bettors love the chalk.
But in Top-25 matchups, they are more likely to take underdogs, believing the teams are equally matched. Thus, they take the points and hope for a competitive game.
In showdowns between ranked teams, the favorite has received a majority of tickets only 62% of the time.
Favorites in these matchups have been undervalued, going 313-263-11 (54%) ATS since 2005.
By Evan Abrams
The role of the underdog has not been friendly to the Trojans in recent years. Since October of 2014, USC is 1-10 SU and ATS in its last 11 games as an underdog, failing to cover the spread by a whopping 10.1 points per game over that span.
Two of the Trojans’ 10 losses in that period have come against Stanford, and USC scored a total of 32 points in the two losses.
Head coaches David Shaw and Clay Helton have very different histories at their current schools. Shaw, who is 6-3 ATS (+2.8 units) against USC and since becoming the head coach of the Cardinal in 2011, is the most profitable Pac-12 coach in conference games (+14.3 units).
On the other side: Since hiring Lane Kiffin in 2010, USC has had four different head coaches. Helton is the least profitable USC coach over that span (-8.6 units), not to mention USC is 5-14-1 ATS (-9.5 units) in road/neutral-site games under Helton.
Bet to Watch
By Ken Barkley
I don’t generally put myself inside the mind of a head coach, but I do really wonder what Helton’s game plan is going to be here.
There has to be a part of him that wants to let JT Daniels sling it all over the field, but in his first road game as a college player, and a conference road game at that, against a traditionally stingy defense, wouldn’t conservative be the better approach?
We actually have seen a pretty similar setup to this game — two years ago, when Helton took then-starter Max Browne and future top pick but then-young gun Sam Darnold to the Farm, where USC lost 27-10. With two young quarterbacks, Helton opted for play-calling heavy on the run, except in unique situations such as the two-minute drill before halftime.
Regardless of the level of aggression USC tries to implement, the fact remains its offense THIS year struggled for most of the game against UNLV Saturday.
The final score may say 43-21, but it was 19-14 USC after three quarters, and this was against a UNLV defense that was 114th last year in S&P+ defensive rankings. The last touchdown was basically scored as USC was just trying to run out the clock.
I can’t put that much value in the offensive performance of the Cardinal at home against a mediocre version of San Diego State last week, as this will still be a significant step up in class.
Any value on the Cardinal is now gone, in my opinion, with the number closer to a touchdown. I would still lean toward the under at 56.5, with both defenses being the stronger units and USC less likely than normal to get aggressive on the road with its still-learning freshman QB.
As illustrated above, there are major questions with both offensive lines. That makes me want to look at the under, since both teams should have trouble sustaining drives.
USC has the corners to match up with Stanford’s jump ballers, and a freshman quarterback making his first road start in a hostile environment will force the Trojans to be conservative. I think the under is the look.