Coming off a morale-boosting 45-7 win over Utah State, the USC Trojans will be looking to keep their title ambitions alive with a victory when they travel to Northern California to take on the Stanford Cardinal, the reigning Pac-12 Champions, on Saturday. The Cardinal, who had a bye in Week 2, have been placed as decent home college football betting favorites, and many pundits expect them to ease past the Trojans. But with a number of lingering questions in Stanford’s offense, especially at QB, things may not be that breezy for Stanford. Ahead of this Pac-12 matchup, let’s take a brief look at the game’s NCAA Football lines, complete with free college football picks.
Here’s a Closer Look at the USC at Stanford Betting Spread, Free Pick & TV Info
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 14, 2016
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
When: Saturday, September 17, 8:00 PM ET
NCAA Football Lines: Stanford (-8.5), OVER/UNDER 52.5
Why Bet on USC?
After losing 52-6 to No. 1 Alabama in the opening weekend, the demolishing win over Utah State at the Coliseum must have felt really good. New starting quarterback Max Browne had a strong performance in the win over Utah State with two TD passes, and freshman quarterback Sam Darnold (who was used in a number of red zone packages and the entire 4th quarter) also chipped in with two TDs. Another strong performance will be required from these two QBs and receivers like Juju Smith-Schuster and Steven Mitchel if the Trojans are to have a winning chance this Saturday. But more importantly, the Trojans will need to have a very strong defensive effort if they are to keep Christian McCaffrey and Stanford’s run-heavy offense muted. USC did hold Utah State to 49 rushing yards on 26 carries, and that should evoke confidence in the team. But after McCaffrey bulldozed his way to a school-record 461 all-purpose yards to help the Cardinal to 41-22 victory over USC last season, it goes without saying that the Trojans will definitely have their hands full.
Why Bet on Stanford?
McCaffrey, the 2015-16 Heisman Trophy runner-up, lived up to his preseason hype, as he began his 2016 campaign with 210 all-purpose yards in the 26-13 home victory over Kansas State in Week 1. The Cardinal also got a much-needed offensive boost from first-year starting quarterback Ryan Burns who completed over 75 percent of his passes in the win, while the defense equally played its part by allowing just one touchdown. But as is suggested by the score from Week 1, Stanford was far from fluent in terms of imposing its supremacy in the game. Against the Trojans, who have a surging passing game and an above-average running game, the Cardinal will need to play better than they did against Kansas State.
My Free Pick and Prediction
The Trojans lead the all-time series against the Cardinal at 60-31- 3, meaning they have the potential to shock Stanford this weekend. However, Stanford has been the better team over the recent meetings, winning 6 of the last 8 meetings and going 7-3 SU and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings vs. USC. In addition, the Stanford will be playing at home with extra rest from last week’s bye. We therefore foresee a dominant Saturday win for the energized hosts.
Predicted Final Score: Stanford 28, USC 16
Writer’s Pick: Stanford (-8.5)