USC Stanford Odds
The Stanford Cardinal are currently ranked No. 4 in the nation with an 8-1 overall record and a 6-1 record in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal currently sit in first place of the North division, but the Oregon Ducks are right behind them so every game is a must win situation. Stanford’s lone loss this season came on the road against Utah in a 21-27 battle. The Cardinal responded well to that loss by picking up a big win over then ranked No. 9 UCLA the following week. They also beat No. 25 ranked Oregon State and easily their biggest win of the season last week over No. 3 Oregon.
The USC Trojans had a rocky start to their season. They suffered losses to Washington State and Arizona State before firing their head coach. Since then they have won four of their five games, with the only loss during that stretch coming on the road against Notre Dame. They have dominating wins the past three weeks, including a 19-3 victory over Utah, the only team to give Stanford a tally in the loss column this season.
Kick-off takes place on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET with television coverage being provided by ABC. The oddsmakers have Stanford listed as a 3.5-point road favorite over the Trojans in what should be an exciting Pac-12 showdown.
Why USC Covers
There have been very few games on the schedule where the Trojans have not put up impressive offensive numbers. They are scoring 29 points per game this season and have dominated time of possession for most of the season. USC averages 186 rushing yards per game on 4.8 yards per carry. They are a very run-biased team, but will have their work cutout for them against the Cardinal’s tough run defense. The Trojans may favor the run, but they can also beat opponents through the air. They are completing 62.6% of their pass attempts for 217 passing yards per game. They face a Stanford defense that has allowed a 65.7% completion percentage on the road this year.
The USC Trojans are 17-4 ATS in home games when coming off two consecutive ATS wins.
The Trojan’s defense will be the key to keeping this game close. They have played extremely well allowing 19.6 points per game overall, but improve to just 13 points allowed when playing at home. Their run defense has played every bit as good as Stanford’s, allowing a mere 86 rushing yards per game on 2.9 yards per carry in home games. It is the Trojan’s secondary that gives them a defensive edge in this matchup. USC has limited opposing quarterbacks to a 55.4% completion percentage at home for a mere 194 passing yards per game. The defense as a whole allows just 280 yards per game at home, and if they can repeat that feat against Stanford, the Cardinal will leave town with their second loss of the season.
Why Stanford Covers
The Stanford offense has been hard to stop. Their opponents have held opponents to 25.9 points per game this season, yet the Cardinal have still managed to score 31.9 points per game overall, and 32.5 points per game on the road. Their ground attack has been phenomenal gaining 192 rushing yards per game on 5.7 yards per carry on the road. They are completing 59.9% of their pass attempts this season for 184 passing yards per game. The fact that the Cardinal are scoring so many points on 389 yards of offense indicates just how efficient of a unit they have been.
The Stanford Cardinal are 42-16 ATS after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better.
The Cardinal defense has held opponents to 19.4 points per game this season. On the road they perform even better allowing just 19 points per game. Those are extremely impressive numbers when you consider the fact that their opponents have scored an average of 35.5 points per game this season. Stanford’s run defense has allowed just 99 rushing yards per game on 3.2 yards per carry. That bodes well for the Cardinal in this matchup since the Trojans average 38 rushing attempts per game of their 65 total offensive plays.
The Cardinal are so much better than the Trojans that I am surprised to see such a tight line in this game. There are no key injuries that warrant such a tight line in this matchup, and I fully expect Stanford to dominate this game from start to finish. Lay the points with the road team because the Cardinal will win this game big.