USC at Arizona Expert Pick & Odds
A big win last week for Southern Cal got Coach Clay Helton off the hot seat for the time being but all that goodwill would disappear on Saturday if the Trojans lose at Arizona, which has been injury-ravaged all season. The Cats are TD home underdogs on college football odds.
How to Bet on the USC at Arizona Expert Pick, Odds & TV Info
When: Saturday, Oct. 15, 3;30 PM ET
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson
Stream: Pac-12 Live
Radio: USC / Arizona
Opening NCAA Football Lines: USC -7 (64)
Why Bet on USC?
Southern Cal beat No. 21 Colorado 21-17 last week. Tyler Petite caught his second touchdown pass with 8:28 to play and USC overcame four turnovers. Daniel Imatorbhebhe also caught a TD pass from Sam Darnold, who passed for 358 yards and three scores along with two fumbles and an interception. USC (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) shredded one of the nation’s top defenses for 539 yards, but Colorado’s takeaways kept an otherwise one-sided game close.
“We were in a hole at 1-3 and last week we put the shovel down and this week we started climbing out of the hole,” Helton said after the win. Justin Davis rushed for 83 yards before leaving with a high ankle sprain early in the second half for USC.
The team’s top rusher will miss a few weeks. After taking just seven carries for two yards against Alabama in Week 1, Davis, a senior, had enjoyed perhaps the best stretch of his career, starting with a 126-yard performance, in just 10 carries, against Utah. Against Arizona State, he rushed for 123 yards in 14 carries. He’d already rushed for 83 yards vs. Colorado before the injury in the third quarter. Ronald Jones III will start in his place. He rushed 10 times for 56 yards against Colorado and caught a screen pass on third down to move the chains.
Over the past two weeks USC has been the best team in the division. In wins against Arizona State and Colorado, which entered those games with a combined record of 8-1, USC averaged 7.13 yards per play on offense — up nearly two yards from its average during the first four games of the season — and allowed just 4.71 yards per play on defense.
Why Bet on Arizona?
The Wildcats (2-4) lost 36-23 at Utah last week. Arizona scored 11 seconds into the game when Brandon Dawkins connected with Shun Brown for a 75-yard touchdown pass. It marked the fastest Arizona has scored to open a game since joining the Pac-12 Conference in 1978. The previous fastest came in 1982 when Vance Johnson returned the opening kickoff against Oregon State for a 93-yard touchdown 12 seconds into the game.
The Utes scored 26 straight points after falling behind 14-3. Utah QB Troy Williams got both of his running TDs in the second half and had 245 yards passing for the game. Armand Shyne also ran for a TD in the third quarter, while the defense tightened up and forced two second-half turnovers and allowed just nine points.
Arizona redshirt senior LB Cody Ippolito will miss the remainder of the 2016 season due to a knee injury. Ippolito sustained the season-ending blow in Saturday’s loss to Utah. He has now suffered three season-ending injuries in his career. His entire 2015 campaign was wiped out due to a torn ACL suffered in preseason camp. He also missed the 2013 season due to a knee ailment.
The injury situation has left Arizona scrambling at several positions, notably in the offensive backfield. QB Anu Solomon hasn’t played – or suited up – since the opener. His replacement, Dawkins has been banged up and unable to finish the last two games, prompting true freshman Khalil Tate to play immediately. UA has been down to its fourth-string running back for the last two-plus games. Starter Nick Wilson has battled a nagging ankle injury, emerging freshman J.J. Taylor broke his ankle against Washington and the third was dismissed from the team in September.
This is the 100th anniversary of the first USC-Arizona game. USC has won nearly 80% of its games against the Wildcats, with just 2 losses since 2001. However, nearly half of the USC-Arizona games, including the last 9, have been decided by 8 points or less. Arizona lost by just 3 last year in L.A.
My Expert Pick
Give the points, go over the total in NCAA football betting.