The No. 6 USC Trojans will host the No. 14 Stanford Cardinal in an early Pac-12 showdown that everyone has had their eye on. Both of these teams believe they have what it takes to win the conference title and represent it in the playoffs. Kickoff is set for 8:30 EST at LA Memorial Coliseum and will be televised nationally on FOX.
Oddsmakers currently have the Trojans listed as a 6-point home favorite with the total at 56 points. Last year Stanford won 27-10 at home as an 8-point favorite. The game stayed well under the over/under mark of 50.5 points. Stanford has won the last 3 meetings, which includes two matchups in 2015. Click here for more Week 2 odds and game previews.
Stanford vs USC Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview
Stanford got the season started in style, as they cruised to a 62-7 win in their neutral site opener against Rice. They had the 29.5-point spread covered before halftime and led 55-0 before the Owls got on the scoreboard.
No Christian McCaffrey, no problem for Stanford’s ground game. Bryce Love lived up to hype and racked up 180 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. The Cardinal had 287 rushing yards in total. Quarterback Keller Chryst threw for 253 yards and 2 scores, but was just 14 of 24 passing.
USC didn’t have quite as easy a time in their first game. The Trojans trailed Western Michigan 14-21 in the 2nd half and were tied 28-28 with less than 8 minutes to play in the 4th. They led by just 4 with under 5 minutes, but would score two late touchdowns to pull out a 49-31 win. USC backers were on the wrong side, as they came up short of covering the 28-point spread.
USC’s offense racked up 521 yards and 49 points without a great game by their star QB in Sam Darnold. While Darnold threw for 289 yards, he threw 2 interceptions and failed to throw a single TD pass. That’s after he had thrown at least 2 in the final 9 games of last year. Ronald Jones II had himself a day with 159 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Deontray Burnett caught 7 passes for 142 yards. Big concern is with the defense, which allowed 263 rushing yards to Western Michigan.
Free NCAA Football Betting Prediction Against the Spread: USC -6
I was hoping for this to be closer to a field goal, but my early lean would still be on USC laying less than a touchdown. I believe the fact that the Trojans didn’t dominate as expected in their opener has the public looking to back Stanford in this one. Especially given how impressive the Cardinal looked in their 55-point blowout win against Rice. That’s got the line moving in the right direction for USC backers.
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Had P.J. Fleck still been on the sidelines for Western Michigan, I think that win over the Broncos wouldn’t feel like a disappointment. The thing is most of those kids were Fleck’s recruits and that team is a lot better than people think. You also have to think that USC was looking just a little ahead to this game. Not only do they have big time revenge against the Cardinal, but this feels like a must-win for their playoff hopes.
The biggest thing a lot of people are going to see is how USC’s defense couldn’t stop the run against Western Michigan. They will assume that Stanford is going to be able to run all over them. A more focused and motivated Trojan defense should have a much better showing in this one. Keep in mind it’s the defense that feeds the most off the energy of the crowds in these big time nationally televised games.
As for the Cardinal’s blowout win over Rice, don’t read too much into that. The Owls’ program has been on a free fall of late and coming off a 3-9 campaign. They are once again picked to finish near the bottom of the C-USA.
I’m one that believes this USC team is the real deal. They have now won 10 straight dating back to last year’s 9-game winning streak to end the year. Of those 10 wins, 8 have come by more than a touchdown.