The #24 overall USC Trojans (2-0) travel to Utah in Week 3 for a matchup against the BYU Cougars (1-1). Kickoff is set for 3:00 PM EST on Saturday, September 14th at LaVell Edwards Stadium and the game will be televised nationally on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 3 college football odds, BYU opened as a 4.5-point home underdog earlier this week. That line has yet to move at all after early betting, as the Cougars are currently listed at +4.5. The total for the game is sitting at 55.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: BYU vs USC
USC crushed Stanford 45-20 in Week 2 and now sits at 2-0 overall on the season. The win was especially significant considering that it was the Trojans first game without JT Daniels who was lost for the year after suffering a torn ACL against Fresno State in Week 1. New starting quarterback Kedon Slovis certainly gave worried fans something to cheer about against the Cardinal, throwing for 377 yards and three touchdowns while also completing 85% of his passes. Slovis also appeared to create instant chemistry with both Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown, as the dynamic receivers combined for 203 yards and three touchdowns. RB Vavae Malepeai also had a decent outing, finding the end zone twice despite averaging only 3.5 yards per carry. As a whole, the offense racked up just under 500 total yards and appears to still have plenty of firepower despite the change at quarterback.
The Trojans defense was also pretty solid in Week 2, holding Stanford to just over 300 total yards and two touchdowns. USC looked especially impressive against the pass, as QB Davis Mills was only able to complete 22/36 attempts for 237 yards and one touchdown.
BYU managed to get back to .500 overall on the season after sneaking past Tennessee on the road 29-26 in overtime. The Cougars trailed by double-digits at halftime but managed to turn things around down the stretch, scoring 13 points over the final two quarters to force extra time. After exchanging touchdowns with the Vols in the first overtime period, the defense came up with a big stop and allowed RB Ty’Son Williams to get back on the field to punch in his second touchdown of the day. QB Zach Wilson went 19/29 for 232 yards and a touchdown while WR Micah Simon hauled in seven passes for 127 yards. Overall, the offense gained just under 350 total yards and scored three touchdowns.
The Cougars defense was pretty solid after surrendering 13-points in the first half, holding Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano to 176 yards passing while also forcing some key turnovers. However, BYU did allow RB Ty Chandler to rack up 159 rushing yards on a game-high 29 carries.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: USC -4.5
Despite having to play on the road here in Week 3, I’m still a little bit surprised that the Trojans are only favored by 4.5 points right now against a BYU team that lost by 18-points against Utah in Week 1 before barely scraping by Tennessee last Saturday. While the Cougars deserve a ton of credit for showing a lot of heart in the second half against the Volunteers, they really didn’t do a good job defending against the run for most of the game. That could be a big problem against USC on Saturday, as the Trojans offense appears to still be very well balanced after Slovis stepped up and delivered in his first game as a starter.
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I’m happy to admit that I was wrong about USC being in big trouble after the loss of JT Daniels, as I was admittedly all over Stanford last weekend. Slovis couldn’t have performed better in his debut, especially against a divisional rival in a pressure-packed game for both programs. He also seemed to mesh instantly with not one but two Trojans receivers, which certainly points towards continued success for the offense moving forward. While dramatic overtime wins always seem to cause some recency bias, I can’t forget how bad this same BYU team looked in Week 1 against a ranked opponent. All in all, I’m happy to lay the 4.5-points in this matchup and take the road favorite – give me USC!