USC-Texas Betting Guide: Keep Counting on These Defenses

USC-Texas Betting Guide: Keep Counting on These Defenses article feature image

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: JT Daniels

USC-Texas Betting Guide

  • Odds: Texas -3.5
  • Over/Under: 47
  • Time: 8 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.

Not often do you have a nonconference game between two of the sport’s premier programs feel so…stale.

The Longhorns lost their opener to Maryland for a second straight year, while USC is 1-1 and hasn’t looked good in either contest.

Expect the Trojans defense to keep playing well and for points to be at a premium once again on Saturday night.

Market Moves for USC-Texas

By Danny Donohue

This line opened with the Longhorns favored by a field goal. Now, even though most books are holding the same line, some are listing Texas -3.5, which is significant considering the percentage of bets on each side.

USC has been more popular, drawing 56% of bets, but Texas has accounted for 63% of dollars, an indication of potential sharp action.

The over/under — even though bets are essentially split down the middle — has fallen 2.5 points at Bookmaker, as the under has drawn 87% of bets on the total.

Key Injuries for USC-Texas

By Stuckey


  • RB Keaontay Ingram DOUBTFUL (knee)
  • WR John Burt OUT (foot)
  • Center Zach Shackelford OUT (ankle)
  • LB DeMarvion Overshown OUT (knee)

The Horns will get back LB Ayodele Adeoye and safety Brandon Jones and likely to get back senior corner Davante Davis back (all three missed last week’s game vs. Tulsa)


  • Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao OUT shoulder)
  • Safety Bubba Bolden QUESTIONABLE (suspension)
  • QB JT Daniels QUESTIONABLE (hand)

Trends to Know

By John Ewing

USC lost last week to Stanford 17-3, knocking the Trojans from No. 17 to No. 22 in the AP Poll.

Bettors shouldn’t expect the Men of Troy to bounce back against an unranked Texas team. In fact, it has been profitable to fade ranked Power 5 teams following a loss: 247-204-12 (55%) ATS since 2005.

By Evan Abrams

Including last week’s loss to Stanford, the Trojans are 3-12-1 ATS since the beginning of last season. Bettors have lost a whopping 9.2 units in that span, making USC the least profitable team in the FBS.

By Stuckey

After its loss to Stanford last week, USC now has an abysmal 1-9 ATS record as an underdog under head coach Clay Helton.

By Danny Donohue

It’s uncommon for an unranked team to be favored over a ranked opponent, but it’s far more rare for it to happen in a nonconference game.

In the 27 times it’s happened in the regular season since 2005, the unranked favorite is 15-9-3 ATS (62.5%).

Bet to Watch for USC-Texas

By Stuckey

Well, here we are again with a second straight USC under. I think the Trojans –with major questions on offense and a severely underrated defense — will be a solid under team early in the season.

I’m assuming that USC will continue to lean on its running game — despite the lack of success its offensive line has had to start the year. However, I don’t think the Trojans have much choice with a true freshman quarterback against a solid secondary getting two key pieces back. It makes sense against a Texas team that couldn’t even defend the rush (189 yards) against Tulsa.

Don’t expect much from a USC offense that looks completely out of rhythm. The Texas defense held USC to 71 yards rushing on 37 carries last year on the road, and that was with Sam Darnold under center.

On the other side of the ball, the USC defense is excellent — especially at linebacker (you will be seeing Porter Gustin and Cameron Smith on Sundays soon) and in the secondary (led by two more future NFLers in senior CB Iman Marshall and safety Marvell Tell III).

The defensive line has struggled to generate pressure so far this season, but those linebackers and defensive backs will mask a lot of issues.

Losing a freshman starting safety might not sound like much, but Pola-Mao is actually the third safety to go down opposite of a stud in Tell. The big question is if Bolden will play. Rumors are he might be suspended for a lengthy period, but Helton didn’t offer any hints at Tuesday’s press conference.

If Bolden can’t go, USC will be down to its fourth safety opposite Tell, which leaves the Trojans particularly vulnerable against tight ends (which is something Stanford exploited).

But guess what? Tom Herman rarely uses tight ends in his offense. And don’t forget Texas should be without Ingram, who looks like its most explosive back.

Last year’s game needed double overtime to get to 51 points. I think you see a similarly low-scoring game this year — just hopefully with no multiple OTs and Gus Johnson flipping his lid (well, the latter would be OK).

The Pick: Give me the under (and likely the Horns).