Apr 19, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California quarterback Cody Kessler (6) throws the ball during the Southern California Spring Game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

USC Football Odds: Early Las Vegas Betting Lines Favor Trojans in 2014

Steve Sarkisian’s USC Trojans are about 10 weeks away from suiting up for the first time, but it’s never too early for the sportsbooks to start weighing in. The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas released some early betting lines for 2014, and let’s just say they have some confidence in the Trojans.

While not all of the games are listed, USC is double-digit favorites in six of nine early lines. That includes Arizona State (by 11) and Notre Dame (by 10), two teams the Trojans play at home in 2014, after faltering against on the road last year.

The Trojans are 23-30 against the spread since Pete Carroll left, and 62-67 over the last 10 seasons.
The Arizona State line is interesting, considering that ASU is pregged as a full-touchdown favorite against South division favorites UCLA.

The Sun Devils do get the Bruins on a Thursday night in Tempe compared to a Saturday night tilt with SC in the Coliseum, but that’s a big 18-point swing in lines, anyway you slice it for a team that hung 62 on USC.

Then again, Justin Davis was literally three-years-old the last time ASU won in the Coliseum.

Of the games listed by the Golden Nugget, USC is only an underdog to Stanford and UCLA, by 3.5 and 4.5 points respectively. Both games are on the road.

The last four contests between USC and Stanford have come down to the final drive, and could have gone to either team. With the game in Week 2, and both teams playing with new defensive coordinators, a de-facto home-team field goal is a spot-on line.

As for the USC-UCLA spread, the Trojans are probably less of an underdog than they should be at this point, given how last year’s game turned out at the Coliseum.

What do they spreads even mean? Well of late, USC hasn’t exactly been a gambler’s dream.

The Trojans are 23-30 against the spread since Pete Carroll left, and 62-67 over the last 10 seasons, dating back to the 2004 National Championship team.

There’s a variety of reasons for the ineffectiveness of beating spreads, including the notion that Vegas rarely pits the Trojans an underdog, and generally expects USC to win big.

From 2003 to 2009, USC was favored in all but two games. In 2012, despite faltering by losing five of their last six games, the Trojans were favored in 11 of 13 games.

Last season, the Trojans were 7-7 against the spread, a record affected by a struggling offense at the beginning of the season, and confident sharpies at the end of the season.

Let’s see how the 2014 team pans out before determining whether or not they were a good bet for the season.

Here’s the list of spreads from the Golden Nugget, for entertainment purposes only, of course.

  • September 6th: USC (+3.5) at Stanford
  • September 13th: USC (-23) at Boston College
  • September 27th: USC (-17) vs. Oregon State
  • October 4th: USC (-11) vs. Arizona State
  • October 11th: USC (-7.5) at Arizona
  • October 25th: USC (-10) at Utah
  • November 13th: USC (-34) vs. California
  • November 22nd: USC (+4.5) at UCLA
  • November 29th: USC (-10) vs. Notre Dame

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Tags: Football USC Trojans

  • disqus_xP462HSYTt

    Seems insane to start ranking a team that has a new coach, staff, recruits, no star QB or RB..defense is still a bif if’…I love SC but money on them now?? Nope…wait and see time…

    • http://fansided.com/ Michael Castillo

      Completely agree. Seems really early for Vegas to be buying in that much, this soon. This is a team that could blow out Fresno State in Week 1, or fall flat on their face and neither would be too surprising, given how much change there’s been. Definitely got to wait and see.

      • Hank Shaw

        Get what you’re saying in terms of Week 1, but Week 2 is the barometer for this team.

        • maddogsfavsnpiks

          hmmm… i’m not so sure Hank… Stanford will be riled given last year’s outcome.. and the HarbaShaw regime is 5-2 vs the barebacked one, and 4-1 vs Sark the Shark.. it may take a few games before the toejam congeals.. so to speak.. so even if they lose to the Tree, they could still end up close to the crown.. or with it, tho I doubt it, and heaven forbid !

      • maddogsfavsnpiks

        Note – “Vegas” doesn’t “buy in”.. neither do the oddsmakers have any amount of “confidence” in one team or the other… The sportsbooks also don’t care which team wins in any of the games… Rather, or instead, the lines are calculated based on which team, and by how much, they think the betting public will place their cash on one side or the other.. that is, they’re trying to find the fulcrum of equal money bet on both sides, so that they’re guaranteed a profit, “the vig” or “the juice” regardless of who wins, by whatever points.
        Naturally, they (the books) expect the well-known teams with big-time reps and history, (plus being relatively close, from El Lay to Vegas/Paradise too – that’s lotsa die-hard fans with lotsa cash), so they expect the Ruins and the short-skirted ones, to get the most cash laid on their side …ALSO it’s pretty standard to give the home team a 3 or 4 pt advantage, thus Stanford is -3.5).

    • Hank Shaw

      I think the basic dog/favorite picks make sense, even this early, but those lines are nuts.

      And while yeah, USC might not have a “star QB” or “star RB” like Mariota, Hundley or something, but I think Kessler is going to make a big step forward this year and I don’t know if I’d pick another backfield than Allen, Davis and Madden. That’s a solid three-headed monster, even without a Heisman-calibre star.

    • Rick

      SC defense a bit if ?

      You gotta be kidding ???

      The Trojan defense will be the “Best in the Nation” !

      This is College Football, not “Footbol” ?

      Stick to soccer !!!


  • Hal Lee Toesis

    The best odds you are going to get is that Scott Wolf will have nasty breath all season.