Bet Colorado +19.5 vs. USC for Week 8 College Football Picks

Darin Zank

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 2:53 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 2:53 PM UTC

Colorado is just 11-19 ATS in Pac-12 games since joining the conference three seasons ago, but it's been better lately, covering the spread in five of its last six conference outings. Can the Buffaloes pull an upset when they take on the Trojans of USC Saturday night at the Coliseum?

The Betting Odds
Most books we consulted opened this game with USC favored by 20.5 points over Colorado, but as of midweek most shops had dropped the Trojans a point or so, to -19.5. Those who believe in near-miracles could get a price of +775 at 5Dimes on the Buffs winning this game outright.

Also, the total sat at 61.5.

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The Situation
Colorado, with 16 starters back from a team that went 4-8 for new head coach Mike MacIntyre last year, was hoping to come up with six wins and return to a bowl for the first time since 2007 this year. But after a 2-4 SU start, 3-3 ATS but 0-3 in Pac-12 play, the Buffaloes now need four wins in their last six games to reach that goal.

Colorado opened this season with a 31-17 loss to rival Colorado State, then traveled to Massachusetts and won 41-38 but came nowhere close to covering the spread as 17-point favorites. The Buffaloes then began Pac-12 play with a 38-24 loss to Arizona State, but covered as 15-point home dogs. They then won at Hawaii 21-12, covering as eight-point favorites, but then lost a wild game at Cal 59-56 in overtime, covering as 14-point dogs. Two weeks ago the Buffs lost at home to Oregon State 36-31, just missing the cover as four-point home dogs.

CU had last week off.

Colorado has outgained four of its last five opponents, and outrushed three of its last five foes.

The USC Trojans, with 14 starters back from a team that went 10-4 last year, expected to contend for the Pac-12 South title immediately under new head coach Steve Sarkisian. So far the Trojans are 4-2 both SU and ATS, and 3-1 in conference play.

Southern Cal opened with a 52-13 victory over Fresno State, covering at -18. The Trojans then began Pac-12 play with a 13-10 win at Stanford as three-point road dogs. But they then suffered a letdown and lost at Boston College 37-31. USC then stepped back into conference play with a 35-10 victory over Oregon State, covering at -8, but then blew a nine-point lead in the last three minutes and lost at home to Arizona State 38-34 on a Hail Mary on the final play of the game.

Last week the worm turned for the Trojans, who hung on to win at Arizona 28-26 when the Wildcats missed a 36-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the game.

USC, powered by running back Javorius Allen, who's already accounted for over 1,000 yards from scrimmage, has outrushed five of its six opponents this season, but it's also been outgained in four of its last five games.


Buffs-Trojans Recent History
Since Colorado joined the Pac-12 three seasons ago USC has won the three meetings by an average score of 46-17. Last year the Trojans went into Boulder and came away with a 47-29 victory, but the Buffs covered the spread as 21-point home dogs.

USC led last year's game 23-0 at halftime, and 37-7 through three quarters, but took its foot off the gas and allowed Colorado to rally for the back-door cover.

Southern Cal outgained the Buffaloes last year 449-312, outrushed 'em 243-124 and won the time-of-possession battle by a 33-27 margin. As mentioned above, the Trojans should have covered the spread that day.


Buffs-Trojans Betting Trends
Colorado is 4-26 SU, 11-19 ATS in Pac-12 games overall, but 5-1 ATS in its last six conference games, and 4-0 ATS in its last four games as a double-digit dog.

USC is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 Pac-12 games, but also only 3-5 ATS in its last eight games as a double-digit favorite.


Buffs-Trojans Free Pick
USC is likely to win this game – no big revelation there – but that spread just seems like a bit much. Colorado seems to be making progress under Coach Mac, and with QB Sefo Liufau, who's already thrown 19 touchdown passes this year, it should be able to keep this one fairly close. So we'll take the Buffs, getting 19.5 points at Jazz Sports, for our free college football pick on this contest.

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