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USC vs Arizona Betting Odds & Picks: Will Trojans Blow Out Wildcats?

USC vs Arizona Betting Odds & Picks: Will Trojans Blow Out Wildcats? article feature image
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Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Caleb Williams (USC)

USC vs Arizona Odds

Saturday, Oct. 29
7 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
USC Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-14
-110
74.5
-105o / -115u
-560
Arizona Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+14
-110
74.5
-105o / -115u
+430
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Trojans head to Tucson to take on the Wildcats in a game with the highest over/under on the board.

Both teams are trending up — they just started from different places. Lincoln Riley has led USC back to national relevance thanks to a high-powered offense and a middle-of-the-pack defense.

Jedd Fisch is reviving an Arizona program that was on life support and after winning just one game in his first season (2021), he already has three this year. The offense is spectacular when passing the ball, but fails to move the needle when rushing. The defense is still one of the worst in FBS.

The line portends a comfortable USC win and a whole lot of points. Will we have a shootout on our hands or a blowout?


USC Trojans

Riley’s Oklahoma teams earned a reputation for being all offense with no defense, and that has followed him to sunny Los Angeles.

Caleb Williams followed him too, and Williams is awesome. The Heisman Trophy candidate has completed 63.9% of his passes for 1,971 yards this season. He’s also connected on 19 touchdown passes and has thrown only one interception.

He is also a threat on the ground, as he’s run for 360 yards (before sack yardage is removed for his box score total) and three touchdowns.

As incredible as Williams has been this season, he is not alone on offense. Oregon transfer Travis Dye has been a workhorse at running back, carrying the ball 101 times for 647 yards.

This offense has been on fire, only twice failing to score 40 points, against Oregon State and Washington State. Arizona’s 113th-ranked defense in SP+ has little chance to slow down this offense, and that’s even if star wide receiver Jordan Addison doesn’t play (he is considered day-to-day).

USC’s defense against the Arizona offense is a matchup of some intrigue, though. The Trojans’ defense hasn’t nearly been as stout against the rush (130th in EPA/rush) as the pass (38th). This is crucial for this matchup because the Wildcats vastly prefer to throw the ball (122nd in Rush Rate).

In addition, USC’s defense toughens up in the red zone and in scoring opportunities.

It ranks 80th in Parker Fleming’s ECKEL rate, which measures how often a team allows scoring opportunities, which isn’t great. But it improves to 35th in Points Per ECKEL, as it’s able to turn teams away or force field goal attempts.

Arizona’s offense struggles to capitalize and only ranks 71st in points per ECKEL.

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Arizona Wildcats

Arizona has been excellent at passing the ball, mediocre running it and atrocious defensively. In all honesty, having one strong unit to hang its hat on is an improvement over some of Arizona’s recent outfits.

This was a true rebuild, and Fisch has done work in the portal to get things up to competency in the desert. Washington State transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura has been impressive, although he does have a habit of giving the ball away — his 16 Turnover Worthy Plays exceed his 15 Big Time Throws.

His favorite target has been UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing, one of the breakout stars in college football. Cowing is 10th in FBS with 737 yards on the season and seven touchdowns.

He could be in for a big day against USC because he operates from the slot about two-thirds of the time, and USC keeps its best corner, Mekhi Blackmon, exclusively on the outside.

Arizona is poorly situated to take advantage of USC’s biggest weakness: rush defense. The Wildcats rank 74th in EPA/Rush and only run the ball 42.7% of the time, one of the lowest rates in the country. It’s easy to imagine that might be even lower on Saturday afternoon.

If USC can score at will early, Arizona will need to rely on the pass, playing right into the Trojans’ hands.


USC vs Arizona Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how USC and Arizona match up statistically:

USC Offense vs Arizona Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 12 131
Line Yards 2 128
Pass Success 15 130
Pass Blocking** 29 107
Havoc 11 116
Finishing Drives 17 131
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Arizona Offense vs USC Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 28 116
Line Yards 29 73
Pass Success 18 105
Pass Blocking** 63 56
Havoc 26 35
Finishing Drives 65 65
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 44 111
PFF Coverage 70 104
SP+ Special Teams 120 114
Seconds per Play 27.0 (80) 24.1 (26)
Rush Rate 49.8% (91) 42.7% (122)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

USC vs Arizona Betting Pick

USC’s offense should be able to score at will.

Fresh off of their bye week, the Trojans’ nagging injuries will have healed up and the offense will be at full firepower. Arizona’s defense doesn’t have a single tool in its toolbox that could slow down this impressive attack.

Arizona will be able to score, but the run/pass splits are not in its favor in this matchup. Also, I don’t trust de Laura to protect the ball against this ball-hawking defense.

It would be fun to take the over and root for points in one of the highest totals I’ve seen this season, but that would require 11 touchdowns. A mistake or two and that’s gone — one red zone interception, or a pair of drives that end in field goals and the over vanishes.

I’ll lay the points and back USC, as this should be a comfortable win for Williams and Co.

I’ll take the Trojans at -15, and I would play it to -16.5.

Pick: USC -15.5 (Play to -16.5)

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