College Football Free Preview: USC Trojans vs. Arizona Wildcats

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

The No. 22 USC Trojans (-3.5) are flying east to face their in-conference counterpart Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. The game is scheduled to get going at 10:30 p.m. ET and fans can view the action live on ESPN2.

Betting Preview: Arizona Wildcats vs. USC Trojans

Arizona is playing the role of underdog and is currently getting 3.5 points in this Saturday Pac-12 game. The Trojans are also receiving -175 moneyline odds while the Wildcats are +155. There might be some good live betting possibilities in this game.

The game’s line originally opened at 2 but the general public’s been hammering the Trojans.

The Trojans are 0-4 against the spread (ATS) and have lost 1.0 unit so far. The team has posted an Over-Under record of 3-1.

The Wildcats have been a disappointment to moneyline bettors this season, losing 4.8 units. They’re 2-2 ATS and have an O/U record of 0-3.

The Trojans have gone 2-2 straight up (SU), including 1-1 SU against conference opponents. The Wildcats are 2-2 SU overall and are also 1-0 SU in conference play.

The Trojans are coming off a 39-36 win over Washington State last week where their secondary allowed the Cougars to air it out for 344 yards and three touchdowns. Easop Winston Jr. had a productive day for the Cougars in that one with 143 yards and two touchdowns on six catches. On the offensive side of the ball, JT Daniels completed 17-of-26 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. Vavae Malepeai (78 yards on 13 rush attempts, two TDs) and Stephen Carr (77 yards on eight carries) led the ground attack in the win while Tyler Vaughns (seven receptions, 64 yards, one TD) and Velus Jones Jr. (two catches, 48 yards) manned the receiving duties.

Arizona is coming off of a big 35-14 win over Oregon State. The team’s let the Beavers pass for 141 yards and rush for 97 more. Jermar Jefferson was a bright spot in the loss, recording 82 rushing yards on 19 attempts for Oregon State. For Arizona, Khalil Tate completed nine-of-17 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. J.J. Taylor (284 rushing yards on 27 attempts, two TDs) and Gary Brightwell (113 yards on 13 carries, one TD) spearheaded the ground game in the win as Shawn Poindexter (four receptions, 92 yards, one TD) and Shun Brown (three catches, 42 yards, one TD) led the receiving attack.

USC has run the ball on 45.7 percent of its offensive possessions this year while Arizona has an overall rush percentage of 58.6 percent. The Trojans have run for 110.3 yards/game (including 113.5 per game against Pac-12 opponents) and have seven scores via handoffs this year. The Wildcats are putting up 247.3 rush yards per game and have nine total rushing TDs.

If 2018 numbers are any indication, then the Wildcats should own the edge in all aspects of the ground game. Their backfield has generated 5.7 yards per carry while the defense has allowed a YPC of 4.3 to opponents. The Trojans have tallied 3.6 yards per carry while allowing 5.0 yards per rush attempt to opponents.

The Trojans offensive scheme has averaged 265.8 yards through the air overall (229.5 per game against conference opposition) and has four passing scores so far. The Wildcats have put up 272.0 pass yards per game and have eight total pass TDs.

On the defensive side of the ball, USC has allowed 179.5 rush yards and 214.5 pass yards per game. The Arizona defense has allowed 218.5 yards per game to opposing passers and 192.5 yards per game on the ground. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to the opposition, as the Trojans have given up an ANY/A of 6.55 to opposing QBs, while the Wildcats are allowing an ANY/A of 6.78.

Offensively, Daniels has put up 738 passing yards this season. He’s completed 54-of-95 attempts with four scores through the air and two interceptions. He has a 6.47 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 6.77 over the last two games.

We expect Daniels to spread the ball around early and often in this one. Amon-Ra St. Brown (185 receiving yards and two touchdowns), Velus Jones Jr. (64 yards) and Tyler Vaughns (185 yards, one TD) have all been heavily involved recently.

For the home team, Khalil Tate has managed to complete 50-of-96 passes for 690 yards, three TDs and two INTs. Tate’s ANY/A sits at 6.34 for the season and 15.92 over his past two outings.

We’re looking for Wildcats to control tempo by feeding the running backs early and often. Shun Brown (126 receiving yards, one TD) has contributed lately, but J.J. Taylor (423 rush yards, three rush TDs) and Gary Brightwell (182 rush yards, one rush TD) have really been key factors in the Arizona offense.

When these two programs faced one another last year, USC won by two touchdowns 49-35.

USC Trojans at Arizona Wildcats NCAA Tip

SU Winner: USC, ATS Winner: USC

Betting Trends

  • The USC defensive unit has sacked opposing quarterbacks eight times this year. Arizona has produced five sacks.
  • Arizona has lost two fumbles in 2018 while USC has lost one.
  • The Trojans offense has registered eight pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Wildcats have put up three such plays.
  • The USC defense has allowed two pass plays of 40 or more yards, while Arizona has given up four such plays.
  • The USC offense has created six rushing plays of 20+ yards, while Arizona has created seven such runs.
  • The Trojans defense has allowed seven rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Wildcats have given up 10 such runs.
  • Arizona was the underdog by 5 points in its previous matchup and the Over/Under was 74. The under cashed and Arizona covered in the 35-14 victory over Oregon State.
  • In its last three matches, USC is 0-3 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • USC was favored by 5 points in its previous game and the O/U was 50.5. The over cashed and USC failed to cover in the 39-36 win over Washington State.
  • USC, as a team, has averaged 2.64285714285714 yards per carry over its last three games and 2.3 over its last two.
  • Arizona has averaged 6.2 yards per carry over its last three outings and 8.0 over its past two.