College Football Picks: USC vs. Arizona State

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 1:19 PM GMT

The Arizona Sun Devils have expended a lot of energy in the last two weeks, which will make it difficult for them to cover as favorites when hosting the USC Trojans Saturday.

 

The Arizona Sun Devils have expended a lot of energy in the last two weeks, which will make it difficult for them to cover as favorites when hosting the USC Trojans Saturday.

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Pac-12 Conference matchup at Sun Devil Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Take a look at my College Football Picks: Opening Odds Report for Week 5.

Defense

USC has relied heavily on its defense in winning three of four games this season, as it paces the country in defending the red zone, while sitting second in the country in tackles for loss.

The Trojans are 2-4 SU and 2-3-1 ATS as underdogs the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 4-2 in that situation.

Snapped 

Arizona State had its five-game winning streak dating back to last year snapped in a 42-28 setback to the Stanford Cardinal as 6.5-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going OVER the betting total for a fifth consecutive contest. 

The Sun Devils have won the statistical battle in all three games this season, but they’ve been outgained on the ground by a combined 306 yards on the ground in their last two affairs. 

Series history

College football handicappers will definitely have an interest in backing the road underdog in this spot, as USC has won 12 of the last 13 meetings in this series, while the OVER is 5-2 in the last seven games played in Tempe. 

The Trojans haven’t allowed a point in the first quarter this season, which is important due to the Sun Devils being known for starting fast under second-year head coach Todd Graham.   

Arizona State has outscored opponents by a 162-82 margin in the opening 15 minutes during the Graham era. 

Throwing it around 

Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly has thrown 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions in his last six games, as he’ll look to avoid making mistakes against one of the top defenses in the country. 

Arizona State is 1-6 when Kelly throws a pick as a starter, while compiling a perfect 9-0 record when he takes care of the football in that statistical category.

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Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Trojans with their college football picks, as the Sun Devils are 2-6 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 10 points in their last eight opportunities. 

College Football Pick:  USC Trojans +6