Despite the Trojans beating them twice last year, the USC vs. Stanford odds see Clay Helton’s team as an underdog for Saturday’s weekender trip to Palo Alto.
It wouldn’t be a Week 2 in college football without the now traditional early Trojans-Cardinal rivalry game. And if the USC vs. Stanford odds are an indicator, it should be yet another close battle between the two private Pac-12 schools.
David Shaw’s Stanford, 1-0 and fresh off a 31-10 win over San Diego State, open week as 4-point favorites over visiting USC, according to the consensus line at Vegas Insider. Since opening, the line has moved down to 3.5 points.
The Trojans will be looking for their third-straight win over the Cardinal for the first time since taking five in a row from 2002 to 2006.
Last year, Clay Helton’s squad trounced Stanford at the Coliseum, before following it up with a 31-28 win in the Pac-12 Championship Game to give USC their first conference title in nine years.
But gone is Sam Darnold, Ronald Jones and Uchenna Nwosu, while Stanford brings back their annual Heisman Trophy runner-up, Bryce Love. Put two-and-two together, hold the game in Palo Alto and it’s easy to see how USC enter as underdogs for just the third time since the start of 2017.
While Helton’s possible cracking of the Stanford code may be reason to throw down on the Trojans, their dreadful performances as underdogs last season might play against that. USC entered as 3.5-point dogs at Notre Dame in a game they lost 49-14, and 10-point dogs in the Cotton Bowl to Ohio State, where they were bested 24-7.
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Overall, the Trojans were abysmal 3-10-1 last season against the spread, with several closer-than-expected wins over the likes of Utah and UCLA serving as reasons not to bet on the cardinal and gold.
The past week wasn’t much different, with USC coming two points shy of covering against UNLV, though ultimately settling for a 43-21 outright win and against-the-spread loss.
Saturday’s game on the farm will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. Pacific on FOX, and should pit two highly ranked teams. Stanford and USC were ranked 13th and 15th, respectively in the preseason AP Poll.