Betting the Spread in Fresno State vs. USC

Thursday, July 31, 2014 2:25 PM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 31, 2014 2:25 PM UTC

The USC Trojans dismantled the Fresno State Bulldogs with a limited roster in Las Vegas a year ago, which is one of the main reasons to back them again in their 2014 season opener. Lets take a look at the spread and determine if the number has been set too high for our college football picks.

<p style="text-align:center"> <style type="text/css"><!--td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}--> </style> <span style="font-size:13px;font-family:arial,sans,sans-serif;font-weight:bold;color:#000000;text-align:left"><iframe allowfullscreen frameborder="0" height="330" src="" width="560"></iframe></span></p> <p><strong style="line-height:1.6em">Taking a step back</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">Fresno State has won back-to-back Mountain West Conference championships in head coach Tim DeRuyter’s first two years, which can’t be ignored when looking over the Week 1 college football lines, but many experts believe the program will take a step back in 2014.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">For the first time in three years, the Bulldogs will be without the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Which NFL team decided to bring on Derek Carr?">services of Derek Carr</a>, who set 27 school records and led the FBS in nine statistical categories for signal-callers last season.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">DeRuyter has yet to develop a true depth chart at the position entering fall camp, but many believe that Duke Blue Devils transfer Brandon Connette will land the job.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Back where he belongs</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">USC had four head coaches in a 65-day span last season—an influx that finally came to an end with <a href="" target="_blank" title="Sarkisian back at USC">former Washington Huskies front man Steve Sarkisian</a> landing back on campus for the fifth time in his career.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">Sarkisian was a spectator in the press box when the <a href="" target="_blank" title="Review our picks from this matchup">Trojans picked up a 45-20 blowout victory over Fresno State</a> as 4.5-point neutral-site underdogs in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl, which provides him plenty of confidence in getting ready for this matchup.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">College football handicappers need to be aware that the program played that contest with just 44 recruited scholarship players available due to NCAA restrictions.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>All about the defense</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">The Bulldogs will need to play a special game on defense to potentially earn a straight-up victory, but the unit does return eight starters, including Preseason All-America safety Derron Smith, who has played a major role in helping the squad cause 58 turnovers the last two years.</span></p> <p>Fresno State has also ranked in the top 10 nationally in sacks over that period of time, but most of those numbers were put up against lesser competition—not a Pac-12 Conference juggernaut.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>A great situation</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">Trojan faithful are expecting a blowout victory at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET, considering it has witnessed a win in 15 of the school’s last 16 home openers.</span></p> <p>USC has also put together a 21-0 straight-up record when hosting non-conference opponents other than the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dating back to the 2002 campaign.</p> <p>With 18 returning starters, including quarterback Cody Kessler and All-America defensive tackle Leonard Williams—anything less than a three-touchdown win would be a disappointment.</p> <p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":293687, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p> <p><strong>Prediction</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">I’m going to recommend that readers back the Trojans as one of their <a href="" target="_blank" title="Free College Football Picks &amp; Betting Predictions">college football picks</a>, as Sarkisian covered the number in 20 of his 25 home wins during his time in the Pacific Northwest.</span></p> <p><strong>Free College Football Pick:</strong>  USC Trojans -22</p>
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