Betting Odds Favor Trojans in Fresno State vs. USC

David Lawrence

Friday, July 18, 2014 2:42 PM GMT

Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 2:42 PM GMT

The Fresno State Bulldogs and USC Trojans will battle it out on August 30th at 7:35 PM ET, and sportsbooks have USC favored at -17.4 college football odds. Here is our prediction for this matchup. 

The Fresno State Bulldogs and USC Trojans played in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl. Their last game of the 2013 season was won by USC, so Fresno State now gets a chance to gain revenge in the first game of the 2014 season. These teams are a little bit familiar to each other, but because of changes on each side, these teams aren’t going to be exactly who or what they were when they met each other this past December in Las Vegas. How will this rematch take shape?

 

The Bulldogs can win because…
Before making your college football picks, keep the following in mind. The Bulldogs could benefit from all the changes USC has had to endure over the past year. It’s worth noting that USC began last season with one head coach, Lane Kiffin, and stumbled in the first month of the season. The Trojans were such a mess that they gave up on Kiffin and turned to a member of his staff, Ed Orgeron. The Trojans got better under Orgeron, but when they were clobbered by UCLA at home in the final game of the regular season, a lot of people were able to see why Orgeron was not up for the permanent head coaching job at USC. Nevertheless, the Trojans did have to hire a new coach, and that coach is someone who worked with Kiffin under the last great head coach the program has had: Pete Carroll, the same man who has coached the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl title in the NFL. USC’s new coach is Steve Sarkisian, who was one of two offensive assistants for Carroll during USC’s very prosperous decade. Kiffin was the other main offensive assistant for the school. There’s a lot of pressure on the Trojans entering this game and this season. Just a few missteps on offense could give Fresno State, the defending Mountain West Conference champion, the opening it needs to score the upset.

 

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The Trojans can win because…
They are facing an opponent whose nerve center is no longer around. Those making sports picks last year will agree: Fresno State was as successful as it was last season because it had the perfect trigger man for its spread passing offense. Derek Carr was one of the five best quarterbacks in the country. He spread the ball to a lot of fast receivers and made great decisions on a consistent basis. Fresno State had a lot of talent on its roster, but Carr was clearly the one person who made the engine run. Without his intelligence and alertness as a field general, the Bulldogs probably wouldn’t have won the Mountain West and made a serious run at a Bowl Championship Series game. Now, Carr is in the NFL, so the Bulldogs have to replace him. On the road, against a USC team with a solid defensive front seven, it’s going to be tough for Fresno State to get a performance from its new quarterback that can win this game.

 

Outlook & NCAA Football Betting Prediction
If Fresno State had Carr back in the lineup, this game would have been a toss-up. As it is, USC should be too strong and too powerful for this diminished version of the Bulldogs. The Trojans should roll.

NCAA Football Picks: USC -17.5 at TheGreek

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