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USC Trojans (20) vs. Arizona Wildcats Betting Picks and Predictions

14 November 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, November 14th
Time:3:30 PM ET
Network:FOX
Venue:Arizona Stadium
Spread:USC -13.5
O/U:68

The 1-0 USC Trojans will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 0-0 Arizona Wildcats at 3:30 PM ET in Arizona Stadium.The Trojans come into this game as 13.5-point road favorites and we’re looking at plenty of points on the board with a 68 over/under. You can tune into the matchup on FOX. It’s week 11 of the CFB season and we have two teams playing in their first and second games of the season. What a year 2020 is. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Predictions for this packed weekend slate of games. 

Trends

  • USC is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games against Arizona.
  • Arizona is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 6 of USC’s last 7 games.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of Arizona’s last 7 games played in week 11.

When The USC Trojans Have The Ball

The Trojans nearly lost their opening game against Arizona State as 11.5-point favorites. They were trailing by up to 13 points in the fourth quarter before USC stormed back and scored two touchdowns on two different 4th-and-longs. It was an improbable victory for USC and they have to do a better job of establishing their identity early in the game. You only escape with one or two of those victories per season and Arizona will test them in a similar way. 

The Trojans turned the ball over four times against Arizona State. A single interception is fine and manageable, but three fumbles in bad spots isn’t. Two of the turnovers turned into ASU touchdowns and the game would have looked a lot different if USC was able to hold onto the football. It all starts with sophomore standout QB Kedon Slovis, who completed 40 of his 55 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t necessarily struggle, but also wasn’t his usual self at all times.

The weapons to play with on the outside are plentiful, even with Michael Pittman Jr. graduating. Drake London, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Tyler Vaughns are all dynamic receivers and all would be 1,000+ yard threats in a regular season. London stood out in week one with 125 yards and a score, though the other two followed closely behind with seven catches each. Vaughns works out of the slot while the other two split wide. The halfbacks also combined for nine catches out of the backfield, so opposing defenses have to keep their eyes on a ton when Slovis drops back to pass. 

USC is going to pass it 50+ times quite often with Slovis under center, but that doesn’t mean they won’t run the ball plenty. They ran it 38 times in week one and it was a three-headed attack with Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr, and Markese Stepp all getting substantial carries. Malepeai was the most productive with the least amount of carries, averaging 7.5 YPC. Expect all three guys to get involved once again, though Malepeai deserves more than six total carries. Carr and Malepeai are also effective in the passing game out of the backfield, catching a combined nine passes in game one. 

When The Arizona Wildcats Have The Ball

We don’t know exactly what to expect from the Arizona Wildcats as this will be the first time they take the field in 2020. They were scheduled to play Utah last week before it was ultimately canceled. QB Grant Gunnell will return as the team’s starting QB after he split time with Khalil Tate (currently in NFL) a season ago. Gunnell was the better pure passer and he piled up 1,239 yards with nine touchdowns in limited playing time. He has a very high upside and it’ll be interesting to see what he does with the offense all his. 

With RB J.J. Taylor also off to the NFL, his backup from a season ago will step up in senior Gary Brightwell. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry a season ago en route to 390 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He will have to prove he can do it over the long haul, though the talent is certainly present. He’ll be backed up by Michael Wiley, who carried it just 31 times in 2019 as a freshman. Expect Brightwell to carry the ball 15-20 times per game while Wiley serves as the pass-catching back. 

Gunnell gets the majority of his weapons back from a season ago. Jamarye Joiner mans the slot and led the team with 552 yards and five touchdowns a season ago. The only receiver to catch more balls was Brian Casteel, who will also return to the team after catching 45 balls for 397 yards and three scores from the outside. Boobie Curry will start next to the pair and he might have more upside than anyone. The former four-star recruit can change the game on any given play and Gunnell must find ways to get him the ball. 

Spread Prediction

The Trojans were lucky to escape with the victory last week and they must clean up the play if they want to cover this spread. I do think the one week of field time will help here as Arizona might take a quarter or two to feel themselves out. USC is the far more talented team and their offense is going to force many teams to play catch-up. The Wildcats can throw it around a decent bit, but they can’t keep up with a USC offense that’s going to average 40 points per game. This number would be closer to 25 if you took away two of those fumbles last week. Give me the USC Trojans all the way up to three touchdowns here as I expect them to take care of business. 

The Pick: USC -13.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

The Trojans offense is the most prolific in the conference and their first game of the season was a fluke that I’m willing to throw out. They turned the ball over at inopportune times and could have very easily blown out ASU with a few breaks going their way. I expect the Trojans to put up between 40 and 50 points here, which leaves us needing around 20-25 from Arizona. I think they get there as Gunnell is an effective thrower and the USC defense is by no means a shutdown one. 

The Pick: Over 68

Final Score Prediction: USC 48, Arizona State 24

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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