College Football Picks: Bet on USC's Momentum Against California

Ross Benjamin

Friday, October 30, 2015 8:58 PM GMT

Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 8:58 PM GMT

We’re going to examine Saturday’s college football odds between USC and California. Will California be able to rebound at home after suffering two consecutive road losses? 

PAC-12 Showdown in Berkeley
California takes on a revitalized USC team on Saturday in PAC-12 contest. The opening kickoff at California Memorial Stadium is slated for 3:00 PM ET. Current college football odds at 5 Dimes has USC as a 5.5 point favorite. USC has defeated California eleven consecutive times including a 38-30 home win last season. The last time California beat USC was way back in 2003 when they came out on top 34-31 at home.

 

Resilient Men from Troy
USC was one of the preseason favorites to reach the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Eve. After winning their first two this season, they proceeded to lose three of their next four games. They reached a low point during and following a 17-12 home loss as a 17.0 point favorite to Washington. The next morning head coach Steve Sarkisian was fired for insubordinate and unprofessional conduct. It was a double whammy to a team that has such high expectations. After their bye week they went on the road to face Notre Dame. With all things considered, they accounted themselves very well during a 41-31 loss. The Trojans showed great resiliency last Saturday when they absolutely shellacked then undefeated and #3 ranked Utah by a lopsided score 42-24. That win put USC right back in contention in the PAC-12 South Division race. They trail first place Utah by just 1.0 game, and hold the head to head tiebreaker.

 

Rising and Descending
California got off to a terrific 5-0 start to the season, and earned itself a Top 25 ranking. Unfortunately since then, they’ve dropped road games against Utah 30-24 and at UCLA 40-24. During those losses, the Bears defense allowed a combined 1008 yards of total offense by its opponents. They return home on Saturday, and that’s good news on a couple of fronts. They’ve gone a perfect 3-0 in Berkeley, and outscored their opponents by an average of 31.0 points per game. However, it must be noted, two of those three home wins came versus Grambling (73-14) and San Diego State (35-7). In their only conference home game, they scored a go ahead touchdown with just 0:42 left to play, and narrowly escaped with a 30-24 win over Washington State.    

 

Final Analysis
USC has forced 4 turnovers in a game on three separate occasions this season, and are a +7 in the takeaway/giveaway department. Contrarily, California has committed 16 turnovers in 2015, including 6 of those in their loss at Utah two weeks ago. The California defense is allowing their opponents an average of 6.5 yards per play in their last three games. That’s not good news since they’ll be facing a USC offense that averages a hefty 7.1 yards per play for the season. I have a small lean toward the road favorite in this game for one of my college football picks.

College Football Pick: USC -5.5 at 5Dimes

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