USC vs. Colorado Odds & Picks: Are Trojans Back on Track?
Gary A. Vasquez, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Markese Step
- The latest USC vs. Colorado odds list the Trojans as a big favorite, but the number has come down throughout the week, sucking most of the value from the Buffaloes side.
- See how our experts are betting this game, and what our projections make this point spread.
USC at Colorado Odds
- Spread: USC -11
- Over/Under: 64.5
- Time: Friday, 9 p.m. ET
- Location: Boulder, Colo.
Model Projection for USC-Colorado
- Spread: USC -12.8
- Total: 55.7
USC at Colorado Line Movement
This will be the only football game on Friday night, so you can expect a decent handle and judging from the market, it looks like the sportsbooks will be rooting on the Buffaloes to cover as 13.5-point home underdogs.
At the time of writing, 71% of the bets are on USC, causing the Trojans to tick up to -13.5 after opening at -12.5 or -13 depending on the sportsbook. There is some evidence that Colorado is the sharper side, as the Buffaloes are getting 41% of the bets.
The total is worth talking about as 67% of the bets and 84% of the money is on the Over, which has moved up to 64.5 after opening as low as 59.5 at certain sportsbooks.
Collin Wilson: Can Colorado Take Advantage of USC’s Injury Issues?
USC will once again need to cope with injuries, as defensive ends Drake Jackson and Christian Rector — who have combined for 41 tackles and 4.5 sacks this season — are not expected to play. Linebacker Paleie Gaoteote IV, who is third on the team with 47 tackles, remained in a walking boot during Tuesday’s practice.
On the offensive side of the ball, running backs Stephen Carr and Markese Stepp were both banged up against Arizona, meaning USC was trotting out fifth-string running back Kenan Christon.
There is some good news for the Trojans. Quarterback Kedon Slovis is healthy and he will have his primary wide receivers with him on Friday night.
The Trojans rank 10th in passing success rate, which will give them a big edge in Boulder. Colorado’s defense ranks in the bottom 10 in that same category, so Slovis may be in for a big day.
Colorado’s quarterback, Steven Montez, has been plagued by interceptions the past two games, but there’s plenty of skill on this offense, especially with Laviska Shenault being healthy. Shenault and fellow wideout Tony Brown give Montez a couple of options, but the best path to success for the Buffs is on the ground.
Colorado’s offense ranks 45th in rushing explosiveness, led by Montez and plenty of formations that get the playmakers the ball out of the backfield. That could be an exploitable advantage since USC’s Achilles heel has been against the rush on defense, and the Trojans are dealing with plenty of injuries on defense.
Our power ratings make this line USC -12.8, so I think there’s a bit of value on the Buffaloes if you can get 13-and-the-hook, but the line has since crashed and taken away much of the value.
The Pick: Colorado +13.5 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Stuckey: Bad Injuries, Worse Spot
I agree with Collin here. Taking into account all of these USC injuries, especially on the defensive side of the ball, and combining them with an unideal situation for the Trojans: on the road in the altitude of Boulder on a short week with Oregon on deck spells trouble.
Colorado has had one of the worst pass defenses in the nation to date, which isn’t ideal against a USC Air Raid attack that features an outstanding group of receivers with NFL talent. However, some of Colorado’s defensive horrid splits can be explained by an endless amount of injuries. The Buffs are not a little healthier and will benefit from seeing the Air Raid last week in Pullman.
And while USC should move the ball with relative ease through the air, Colorado does have an opportunistic defense that has forced 13 turnovers on the season. And in three road games this year, the inexperienced USC quarterbacks (Fink and Slovis) combined to throw only three touchdowns to go along with five interceptions.
Plus, you get to fade Clay Helton on the road, which is one of my favorite pastimes. The USC head coach is just 8-14-1 ATS on the highway. I bought this to 14 but would still play it smaller at 11 or higher. It really wouldn’t be shocked if USC drops to 0-4 on the road this year.
In regards to the total, it’s over or nothing. USC should get its points through the air against a soft Colorado secondary and I expect Colorado to have plenty of success on the ground and through the air against a depleted USC defense.
These are two top 30 offenses going up against defenses with major question marks. The mobility of Montez could also play a role as USC has struggled this season with mobile quarterbacks and now it’s dealing with some injuries on the edge. If you see a turnover or two early in the redzone, you may want to hop on a live over.
This is ultimately just a good buy low spot on the Buffs while simultaneously fading a beat up USC team in a horrible situational spot.
The Pick: Colorado +14 or better [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]