The USC Trojans (5-4) host the California Golden Bears (5-4) this Saturday in a Pac-12 matchup between two teams with identical records. Kickoff is set for 10:30 PM EST at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Taking a look at the Week 11 college football odds, USC opened as a 5.5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has remained unchanged after early betting, as the Trojans are currently listed at -5.5. The total for the game is sitting at 48 points.

Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: USC vs Cal

California dropped to 5-4 on the season after a disappointing 19-13 loss to #8 overall Washington State. The Golden Bears had a real shot at pulling off the upset heading into the 4th quarter, as the game was tied 13-13. However, the Cougars found a way to close out the game strong to hand Cal their fourth loss in the last six games. QB Chase Garbers got the start in Week 10, throwing for 127 yards and a touchdown through the air while also adding 67 yards on the ground. RB Patrick Laird leads the way on the ground, averaging 77.8 rushing yards per game. He has also scored eight total touchdowns – five rushing and three receiving. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging just 23.6 points per game (106th overall) on 381.3 total yards. They have really struggled to move the ball through the air, averaging just 205.7 passing yards per game (89th overall).

The Golden Bears have played pretty well on defense so far this season, allowing opponents to score an average of  just 21.9 points per game (31st overall) on 323.2 total yards of offense. Cal has really done a good job against the pass, as they are limiting opponents to 184.2 yards per game through the air (22nd overall).

USC managed to get back above .500 last weekend after beating Oregon State 38-21 last weekend. The Trojans had lost two games in a row heading into Week 10, so it was nice to see such a strong showing against a conference rival. They were especially good during the 1st and 2nd quarter, as they jumped out to a quick 21-0 lead . RB Aca’Cedric Ware was the offensive star of the game, rushing for 205 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 carries. QB JT Daniels has had a tough year so far, passing for 225.8 yards per game and nine touchdowns while getting picked off seven times in nine games. Daniels will also likely be without his favorite receiver in Week 11, as Michael Pittman Jr. is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Pittman Jr. has racked up 561 yards and six touchdowns in his junior year. Overall, USC is currently averaging 28.3 points per game on 380.2 total yards of offense.

On the other side of the ball, the Trojans are currently giving up an average of 27.9 points per game on 388.1 yards of total offense. They have been pretty average against both the run and the pass, as they currently rank 60th and 66th overall respectively.

NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Cal +5.5

I really wanted to roll with the Trojans in this particular spot, but I just can’t talk myself into it. I think this game could go either way, as USC hasn’t been playing that well as of late while Cal has really turned things around after getting embarrassed at home by UCLA several weeks ago. The Golden Bears knocked off Washington, and then almost pulled off a second consecutive upset against Washington State last weekend. While I could certainly see the Trojans winning this game at home, I really feel as if it’s a coin-flip spot where everything could be decided by a last minute field goal.

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I know that USC has owned the Golden Bears over the last several years, going 7-2 ATS over their last nine meetings. However, I think things will be different this time around. Cal is 5-1 ATS over their last six road games and 5-0 ATS in their last five games in the month of November. They have also been the better team against the spread overall this season, as USC is just 3-6. The Trojans are also only 1-5 ATS over their last six home games and 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games overall.

It is also worth noting that although USC is currently averaging 4.7 more points per game than California on offense, they are also giving up 6 more points per game on defense. All in all, I think the Golden Bears will find a way to stay within striking distance of the Trojans in this matchup – they certainly managed to do just that against Washington and Washington State, who are both better teams than USC. I’m happy to take the free points all day in this particular spot – give me Cal.