Pac-12 Week 2 Overview: Stanford to Expose USC's Defensive Flaws

Monday, September 3, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 3, 2018 9:34 PM UTC

No. 13 Stanford is a 3.5-point favorite hosting No. 15 USC in the year's first Pac-12 ranked matchup. Arizona, Cal, UCLA, and Colorado, meanwhile, are catching points in non-conference road games.

Pac-12 Spotlight: No. 15 USC at No. 13 Stanford (-3.5)Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET (Fox)Free NCAAF Pick: Stanford -3.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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USC (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) struggled in much of its season-opening 43-21 win over UNLV. The Rebels, catching 24.5 points on the college football odds board, were within five headed into the fourth quarter before the Trojans' superior size and strength took its toll on the underdogs. Most eye opening is the fact UNLV tallied 405 total yards, 308 on the ground. USC returns six starters to a unit that surrendered an average 26.1 points in 2017. It needs some work and enters a bad spot historically for head coach Clay Helton.

The Trojans have been routed in each of four true road contests as an underdog of a touchdown or less behind Helton, losing by 17.3 points per game. USC comes up 12.9 points shy of a 4.4 average line in this spot. Defense proves optional. USC yields 502.6 total yards and 42.2 points per game. It has allowed opponents to score at least a touchdown more than market projections in each.

Stanford (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), meanwhile, is 17-3 SU and 12-7-1 ATS hosting ranked teams in the last decade. It is coming off an impressive 31-10 win as a 14.5-point favorite over a tough San Diego State squad. QB K.J. Costello passed for 332 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT on 21-of-31 tosses. When the Cardinal passing game is coordinated, watch out. The program is 25-9 SU and 20-12-2 ATS (62.5 percent) in its last 34 contests following a game in which it tallied at least three passing touchdowns.

The Cardinal has its way against an USC defense in dire need of an identity. Lay the points with your college football picks.

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.@kj_costello, droppin' dimes.#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/RkoOCUo2vq

— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) September 3, 2018
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Around the Pac 12 (All Games Saturday)

Arizona at Houston (-4.5), noon ET, on ABC: Arizona (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) and Houston (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) combined for 35 points in a 19-16 Cougars win, the result staying 34 points south of a 69.0 total. Should bettors expect another unforeseen grindfest? The "under" is 22-8-1 in Wildcats’ last 31 matchups in which the prior meeting finished at least 10 points below the total.

UCLA at No. 7 Oklahoma (OFF), 1 p.m. ET, on Fox: Advanced lines pit a young UCLA (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) squad 20.5-point underdogs prior to their shock defeat to Cincinnati last Saturday. Expect it to grow. The line is off the board with Bruins QB Wilton Speight’s status up in the air. Oklahoma (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS), meanwhile, has covered 10 of its last 11 as home chalk.

Portland State at No. 24 Oregon (OFF), 2 p.m. ET, on PAC12: The average score in the last four meetings between Oregon (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) and FCS Portland State (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) is 55.8 to 7.0 in favor of the Ducks. The Vikings have lost each game by 41 points or more.

Colorado at Nebraska (-4.5), 3:30 p.m. ET, on ABC: The final score (42.0) has come up an average 17 points shy when Colorado (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) plays a true road game with a single-digit line under head coach Mike MacIntyre. Will the Buffs be able to cool Scott Frost’s much-anticipated debut as Nebraska (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) coach? The Cornhuskers opening game against Akron was canceled due to lightning.

North Dakota at No. 6 Washington (OFF), 5 p.m. ET, on PAC12: Washington (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) posts 53.0 points per game against FCS opponents under head coach Chris Petersen. North Dakota (1-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) will want to get in and out in a hurry.

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The focus is here and now.

Be there for @UW_Football's return to the #GreatestSetting.

>> https://t.co/APwOO9bhr3#PurpleReign pic.twitter.com/WgvSW2MJSl

— Washington Athletics (@UWAthletics) September 3, 2018
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Utah (-11) at Northern Illinois, 7:30 p.m. ET, on ESPNews: Head coach Kyle Wittingham is 11-0 SU and 9-2 ATS all-time leading Utah (1-0 SU, 1- ATS) as double-digit road chalk against non-Power 5 programs. The Utes top a -18.9 average line by 10.4 points per game. This just the second time in the last 20 years MAC powerhouse Northern Illinois (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) is catching 10-plus points at home.

Southern Utah at Oregon State (OFF), 8 p.m. ET, on PAC12: First, if you find yourself betting on Southern Utah (0-1 SU, 0-0 ATS) at Oregon State (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) you might need help. Second, the Beavers are 3-9-1 ATS since the start of last season, coming up an average 9.7 points shy of the number (14.5).

California at BYU (-2.5), 10:15 p.m. ET: BYU (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) is just 2-4 SU and ATS as the betting favorite against Pac-12 foes since 2011. The Cougars post a paltry 19.3 points per game. Cal (1-0 SU, 0-0-1 ATS), meanwhile, owns a single victory in its last 15 road contests, going 5-10 ATS overall.

No. 11 Michigan State (-7) at Arizona State, 10:45 p.m. ET, on ESPN: Arizona State (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) QB Manny Wilkins is 9-3 SU and 8-4 ATS as a starter at Sun Devil Stadium, winning three of five outright as an underdog (8.3-point average). Michigan State (1-0 SU, 0-1), which struggled to contain Utah State’s passing game in the season opener, must be careful.

San Jose State at Washington State (-35.5), 11 p.m. ET, on PAC12: San Jose State (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) has kicked off a 30-point underdog 11 times during the last decade, losing by a 46.5 to 10.1 average score. Head coach Mike Leach is 2-1 SU and 1-2 ATS leading Washington State laying as many, shocked by Portland State 24-17 in 2015. The ‘under’ has hit in all three by a whopping -21.8 margin.

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