In one of the more anticipated matchups of Week 2, the No. 10 ranked Stanford Cardinal will host the No. 17 ranked USC Trojans. Kickoff is set for 8:30 EST on Saturday at Stanford Stadium and will be televised nationally on FOX.
These two teams met twice last season with USC winning both matchups. The Trojans won convincingly at home 42-24 in Week 2 during the regular season, but barely squeaked by with a 31-28 win over the Cardinal in the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Taking a look at the Week 2 college football odds, we see that the books currently have Stanford listed as a 4.5-point home favorite with the total set at 54.5 points.
Betting Preview & Vegas Game Odds: Stanford vs USC
The Trojans knocked off UNLV 43-21 at home in Week 1, but would fail to cover as 24.5-point favorites. While they won the game be three touchdowns, it was a much closer affair than the final score would lead you to believe. USC trailed at the end of the 1st quarter, led just 14-9 at the half and were only up by a score of 33-22 with less than 8 minutes to play.
The big positive for the Trojans was the play of true freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels, who went 22 of 35 for 282 yards and a score. The big negative was the run defense, which allowed 308 yards on the ground to the Rebels.
The Cardinal won and covered as a 14.5-point favorite in a 31-10 win over San Diego State, but they too were pushed by an inferior opponent. Stanford didn’t take their first lead in the game until the final seconds of the 1st half and were one up 16-10 midway through the 3rd quarter.
The biggest story line for the Cardinal had to be the struggles of senior running back Bryce Love. Coming off a season in which he rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 scores, Love was a top choice to win this year’s Heisman Trophy. He managed just 47 total yards, rushing for a mere 29 yards on 18 attempts (1.6 yards/carry).
NCAA Football Free Pick Predictions Against the Spread: Stanford -4.5
I would have to lean towards taking the Cardinal at home against the Trojans on Saturday. Stanford has had this game circled on the schedule since it was released and I think they get their revenge in a big way.
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I think the lackluster showing by Love in Week 1 against the Aztecs will have people thinking twice about backing Stanford in this one. What a lot of people will overlook is the fact that while San Diego State isn’t a Power 5 team, they have one of the best defenses in the country. Not to mention they were loading the box to try and take Love out of the game.
I had high hopes for USC’s defense this year, but after watching them give up 308 yards and 7.2 yards/carry against UNLV, I have a hard time seeing them bottle up Love in this one.
This is also a Stanford offense that doesn’t have to run to move the ball. Sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello was a difference maker last year and he picked apart the Aztecs defense for 332 yards and 4 scores on 21 of 31 passing.
The other thing for me is I just don’t think the Trojans are experienced enough on the offensive side of the ball to keep this game competitive. I think Daniels is going to be a star, but there’s going to be some growing pains and it would shock me if he played well in his first true road game against a defense the caliber of Stanford.
Keep in mind USC not only had to replace Sam Darnold at quarterback, but they also lost their leading rusher in Ronald Jones (1,550 yards, 19 TDs) and top receiver in Deontay Burnett (86 catches, 1,114 yards, 9 TDs). Give me the Cardinal -4.5.