Stanford vs. USC College Football Picks: Bet Trojans to Cover ATS

Steven Suarez

Friday, December 4, 2015 1:10 AM GMT

Stanford and USC will battle it out for glory in the Pac-12 -- which college football picks should we be adding to our tickets?

Odds Overview
The Trojans have certainly been on a roll, but they've been classified as favorites on the college football odds board for this weekend's meeting with Stanford. The spread is at either 4.5 or 5 points, depending on which sportsbook you check out.

A total of 58.5 points can be found right now, which signals we'll be in for some solid offensive output on Saturday.

 

Stanford Cardinal
Thanks to a rock solid 10-2 overall record and 8-1 mark in conference play, the Cardinal have earned a chance to play for the Pac-12 title. Their two losses came in a regular season opener at Northwestern (who have been surprisingly good and are now ranked) and then at home in a tight defeat to Oregon (38-36). 

Other than those setbacks, Stanford has risen to every challenge that's been in the way, having beaten the likes of USC, UCLA, and Notre Dame among others. Ahead of this weekend, the Cardinal have picked up consecutive wins over California (35-22) and the Fighting Irish (38-36), and those results have had to help boost morale within the program. As a team, Stanford has put up an average of 36 points per game, and Kevin Hogan and Christian McCaffrey have been leading the way.

Hogan has led the offense very well, posting a 23:7 TD:INT ratio while also running for close to 300 yards and an additional four scores. The run game has been at the center of Stanford's success, as McCaffrey has piled up 287 carries, 1,640 rushing yards, 37 receptions, 435 receiving yards and ten total touchdowns. Barry Sanders, Bryce Love and goal-line back Remound Wright (13 rushing touchdowns) have also contributed quite a bit -- we're curious to see how much success McCaffrey will have against this USC defense.

 

USC Trojans
Back when they were 3-3, few could have predicted the Trojans would march their way back and earn a berth into the conference championship, but alas, here we are.

It's been an incredible couple of months for USC, who finished 6-3 in conference action to secure their right to face Stanford for all of the marbles. Cody Kessler has continued to play at a high level, throwing for over 3,000 yards to go with a 27:6 TD:INT ratio, and his top target has been JuJu Smith, who has over 1,300 receiving yards and ten touchdowns. In the backfield, Ronald Jones II and Justin Davis have stood out most, and Tre Madden has performed well when healthy too.

One of USC's losses this season came against this very same Stanford team, and it's going to be fascinating to see how the rematch plays out. Will Kessler and Smith make enough of an impact to carry the Trojans to the upset? This offense is certainly talented enough to keep up with whomever they face.

 

Betting Analysis
While the Trojans have picked the right time to pick up their level of play, they're going to run into a huge challenge this weekend. Will USC be able to hang around with Stanford?

We believe so. It's been more of a topsy-turvy season for the Trojans, but they come in having won five of their previous six games overall, including that massively important triumph over UCLA last week. 

That victory should provide a nice boost in confidence for USC, and it doesn't hurt that they've already played the Cardinal and therefore will have an idea of what to do differently to find more success. They lost by ten in the first meeting, but now get a shot at revenge on a neutral field, with a lot on the line. Let's put our faith in Kessler, Smith and company to hold their own and make a game of it this weekend with our college football picks, leading to a cover.

College Football Picks: USC Trojans +5 at Bovada

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