The Arizona Wildcats (2-2) host the USC Trojans (2-2) this weekend in a pivotal Pac-12 matchup between two teams trying to get back above .500. Kickoff is set for 10:30 PM PM EST at Arizona Stadium and the game will be available on ESNP2.
Taking a look at the Week 5 college football odds, USC opened as a 2-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has increased slightly after early betting, as the Trojans are currently listed at -3. The total for the game is sitting at 61 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Arizona vs USC
The Trojans are coming off a huge conference victory over previously undefeated Washington State last weekend, as USC rallied in the second half to defeat the Cougars 39-36. Despite trailing by 13 points in the 3rd quarter, the Trojans found a way to grind out an extremely important win. QB JT Daniels led the charge on offense, throwing for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Vavae Malepai and Stephen Carr have lead the way on the ground for the Trojans, combining for 342 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
USC has struggled a bit defensively, especially against Texas back in Week 3 where they gave up 37 points. The Trojans are currently giving up an average of 27.8 points per game on 394.0 total yards per game. They have really had a hard time against the rush, allowing opponents to gain an average of 179.5 yards on the ground per game (89th).
Arizona has now won two games in a row after an impressive 35-17 win against Pac-12 rival Oregon State last weekend. RB J.J. Taylor was extremely dynamic on the ground, rushing for a career-high 284 yards against the Beavers while also averaging over 10 yards per carry. Taylor also had two long touchdown runs in the game, finding the end zone from 60 yards out and then again from 40 yards out. QB Khalil Tate also played fairly well, throwing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Tate now has more than 1,000 yards passing on the season to go along with eight touchdowns. He has struggled with his accuracy, however, completing only 54.3 percent of his passes.
On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats managed to turn things around a little bit defensively in Week 4. After allowing an average of 34.7 points per game on 468.3 total yards over their first three games, Arizona managed to hold the Beavers to just 17 points on only 238 total yards last weekend.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: USC -3
While a lot is being made of the Wildcats resurgence on both sides of the ball last weekend, I’m still not fully buying it. Yes, Arizona did look much improved but it is important to remember that they were playing against an Oregon State team that allowed 77 points to Ohio State back in Week 1. The Beavers also only managed to win one game during the 2017-18 season. USC also was under a lot of scrutiny heading into their matchup with Washington State, but I think a lot more can be taken away from that game considering the caliber of their opponent. Freshman JT Daniels seems to really be settling in and I fully expect him to build on his impressive game against the Cougars last weekend. While the Wildcats have been hot lately, they were also up against inferior opponents (Oregon State and Southern Utah). Despite playing at home, I still don’t think I’m going to go back to the well this weekend against a rapidly improving USC offense.
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Arizona is just 2-5 ATS over their past seven games overall. They are also only 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games as an underdog and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as a home underdog. USC is an impressive 4-1 ATS over their past five games against the Wildcats and 7-3 ATS over their past ten games as a favorite where the spread was between 0.5 and 3 points.
Arizona QB Khalil Tate has also been unable to really get anything going with his legs this year after averaging almost 130 yards per game on the ground last year. Tate currently has less than 100 yards rushing on just 21 carries over the first four weeks of the season. I just can’t look past their back to back loses against BYU and Houston and while I expect this one to stay close for most of the game, USC should be able to find a way to win by around a touchdown. I’ll lay the points and take the Trojans to get back above .500 on the road.