California Golden Bears vs. USC Trojans: NCAA Football Betting Free Pick

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

The California Golden Bears (+5) aren’t traveling far to face the USC Trojans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. This crucial Pac-12 showdown kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET and ESPN is in line to broadcast the action.

Betting Preview: California Golden Bears at USC Trojans

California is a live dog and is currently getting 5 points in this Saturday Pac-12 game. The Golden Bears are also receiving +180 moneyline odds while the Trojans are -220. If one program finds paydirt in the early stages it would generate a worthwhile betting opportunity in-game. Oddsmakers have placed the over/under (O/U) at 48.5 points.

The opening line was -6. The game’s O/U has yet to move after it was set initially at 48.5.

The Golden Bears have gained 0.1 units so far and are 4-4-1 against the spread (ATS). They’ve been a good under bet and have posted an O/U record of 1-7.

The Trojans have lost 0.6 units this season. The team is 3-6 ATS and has an O/U record of 5-4.

The Golden Bears have gone 5-4 straight up (SU), including 2-4 SU against Pac-12 opponents. The Trojans are 5-4 SU overall and 4-3 SU in conference play.

These two schools faced off last year with the final outcome being a 30-20 victory for USC.

The Golden Bears are on the rebound after a 19-13 defeat to Washington State last week. the Golden Bears completed 18-of-33 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Chase Garbers went 15-for-26 for 127 yards, one touchdown and one interception while Brandon McIlwain completed three-of-seven for 52 yards and one interception. Patrick Laird (40 rushing yards on 18 attempts) and the signal-caller Garbers (67 yards on 11 carries) mounted the running attack. Vic Wharton III (four receptions, 47 yards) and Laird (four catches, 38 yards) shared the receiving duties in the defeat.

USC is coming off of a 38-21 win over Oregon State. The Trojans defensive secondary let the Beavers air it out for 301 yards. Isaiah Hodgins had a productive showing in the defeat for Oregon State, posting 129 yards on eight catches. For USC, JT Daniels completed 14-of-26 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown. Aca’Cedric Ware (205 yards on 17 rush attempts, three TDs) and Vavae Malepeai (101 yards on 15 carries) handled the running game while Amon-Ra St. Brown (five receptions, 39 yards) and Tyler Vaughns (three catches, 41 yards) led the receiving corps in the win.

California has run the ball on 54.1 percent of its offensive possessions this year while USC has a rush percentage of 51.7 percent. The Golden Bears have produced 175.7 rush yards per game (including 173.5 per game versus Pac-12 opponents) and have 11 scores on the ground this year. The Trojans are putting up 144.3 rush yards per game (155.0 in conference) and have 16 total rushing TDs.

It appears that the Golden Bears may have the advantage in all aspects of the ground game. Their running backs has generated 4.5 yards per carry while the defense is allowing 3.7 YPC to opponents. The Trojans have ran for 4.3 yards per carry and allowed 4.1 YPC to opponents.

The Golden Bears offense has averaged 205.7 yards in the air overall (207.3 per game against conference opposition) and has 12 passing TDs so far. The Trojans have produced 235.9 pass yards per outing (217 against Pac-12 foes) and have 13 total pass scores.

Defensively, California should have the upper hand in both facets. The team has let opponents rush for an average of 139.0 yards and throw for 184.2 yards per game. The USC D has allowed 229.8 yards per game to opposing passers and 158.3 yards per game to opposing runners. The Golden Bears are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 3.84 to opponents, while the Trojans have allowed a 6.23 ANY/A.

Passing-wise, Garbers has amassed 854 yards this year. He’s completed 64 percent of his 127 attempts with 10 scores through the air and five interceptions. Garbers has a 5.82 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 3.98 over the past two outings.

Patrick Laird (617 rushing yards, five rush TDs, 223 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns this season), Vic Wharton III (349 receiving yards) and Moe Ways (232 receiving yards) have each played key roles of late.

Jack Sears has completed 20-of-28 passes for 235 yards, two TDs and zero INTs for USC. His ANY/A stands at 8.93 for the year.

We’re looking for the Trojans to control tempo by pounding the defense with their running backs. Tyler Vaughns (372 receiving yards, two TDs this season) has stepped up lately, but Aca’Cedric Ware (563 rush yards, six rush TDs) and Vavae Malepeai (305 rush yards, seven rush TDs) have brought significant production to the Trojans’ recent offensive gameplans.

California Golden Bears vs. USC Trojans Free NCAA Betting Tip

SU Winner: USC, ATS Winner: USC, O/U: Under

Team Betting Trends

  • The USC defense has registered 24 sacks on the year while California has 19.
  • The USC offense has lost seven fumbles this season while the California offense has lost nine.
  • The Golden Bears offense has recorded four pass plays of 40 or more yards, while the Trojans have put up 12 such plays.
  • The California defense has allowed five pass plays of 40 or more yards, while USC has given up six such plays.
  • The California offense has created nine rushing plays of 20+ yards, while USC has created 14 such runs.
  • The Golden Bears defense has allowed seven rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Trojans have given up 11 such runs.
  • The Over/Under for USC’s last matchup going into it was 64.5. The under cashed in the 38-21 victory over Oregon State.
  • Over its last three games, USC is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • Over its last three games, California is 3-0 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
  • The Over/Under for California’s previous game was 52. The under cashed in the team’s 19-13 loss to Washington State.
  • As a team, California has produced 4.4 yards per carry over its last three games and 2.8 over its last two.
  • USC has averaged 5.1 yards per carry over its last three contests and 6.2 over its past two.