With over/under win totals for USC football in 2020 set at eight, this offseason is the right time to be bullish about the Trojans. More than eight wins is likely.
Over the past few years, one betting strategy for USC football has been simple (whether you’re actually betting or just observing):
Take the under. Assume the Trojans will win less games than projected and never depend on them to cover.
There has been good reason for that. Clay Helton’s USC has underachieved often enough for the strategy to hold up, particularly on the road against strong teams.
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But this offseason warrants a reevaluation of that policy, at least when it comes to projected win totals which dropped this week.
Caesar’s Sportsbook released their over/under win totals for the Pac-12 and FanSided’s Nick Villano suggested fans take the under on USC at 8 wins.
Don’t listen. Take the over. This is not a drill.
Here’s why: The Pac-12 should be down once more in 2020 and USC’s schedule isn’t as daunting as it may seem on the surface.
Sure, things start out with Alabama and that’s a certain loss off the bat, but that’s one of 12, and the remaining schedule is full of possibility.
USC returns an outstanding freshman quarterback, Kedon Slovis, and should anything befall him the Trojans can turn to another strong option in JT Daniels.
In total, USC has 82 percent of their production from last year coming back. That’s good for fifth nationally.
That’s not the case for many of USC’s opponents. Stanford has to find a new QB. So do Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Washington.
The Cardinal and the Wildcats are actually the closest to the Trojans in terms of returning production, all the way down at 28th and 30th with 73 percent each.
At 33rd, Cal is the only other team on USC’s schedule in the Top 65.
The road trip to Utah may be one of the biggest challenges on the slate, but the Utes are dead last returning just 37 percent of their 2019 production.
Two other major challenges will come against teams undergoing major upheaval. Oregon returns just 34 percent from their offense. Washington has only 30 percent back on that side of the ball.
Even Notre Dame will have some major holes to fill losing 49 percent of production on defense.
It would be foolish to expect USC to run through the 2020 schedule undefeated (or even 11-2), but eight wins is more than doable. The Trojans did it last season despite breaking in a true freshman quarterback and a new offense while replacing a the entire secondary and contending with major injury issues.
If you lose money (or your mind), take it up with the folks at the top of the program. The football reasons to take the over are there.