The second week of the NCAA football season has a number of good matchups with one being a Pac-12 showdown between the visiting USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal.
This early-season key Pac-12 game could have a number of implications on the conference title as the season wears one.
USC enters the matchup off a rout of Fresno State 52-13 that covered an 18-5-point spread easily. At the same time, Stanford crushed UC-Davis 45-0.
The current line on Bovada and betonline has Stanford favored at -3, while topbet and sportsbook.com have the point total on 54.5.
On most books, Stanford was -5 to open, early money on USC moved the line down to -2.5 and it is now just above that at -3.
Steve Sarkisian the new USC head coach is aware of the strong rivalry between the two schools, as he was the offensive coordinator for USC for four seasons.
Sarkisian’s own personal rivalry with Stanford’s head coach David Shaw heated up when Sarkisian was coaching Washington. During that time, his Washington team was 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS against Stanford.
Last season, Washington lost 31-28 but covered a spread of 9 points.
Later Sarkisian accused Shaw of having Cardinal players fake injuries down the stretch of the game to thwart Washington’s comeback.
Sarkisian said he had respect for Shaw as both a person and coach. He said the two had moved on from the incident, but it could become an underlying factor in this game.
Cody Kessler the starting quarterback for USC was the Offensive Player of the Week in the Pac-12 with 395 passing yards and 4 TDs against Fresno State.
On the other hand, Kevin Hogan the Stanford quarterback only had 204 yards passing and 3 TDs against UC-Davis.
Last season in the head-to-head battle, Kessler had a much stronger day than Hogan. The Trojans won that game 20-17 SU after being a 3.5-point dog.
However, on Tuesday Kessler had minor toe surgery due to a staph infection, but is expected to play Saturday.
Over the past 7 games between the two schools, the underdog has a record of 6-1 ATS. For the Trojans to have any chance of winning, they will need Kessler under center.
USC likes the up-tempo offense under Sarkisian as they had 700 total yards in week 1 and ran 105 plays.
Stanford could attempt to run the ball continually on offense to run the clock down and keep the high-powered USC offense on the sideline.
Nonetheless, the score will likely cash OVER.
Stanford is 20-1 straight up under Shaw at home.
I like USC and the OVER.