USC Home Cover vs. ASU for Week 6 College Football Picks

Darin Zank

Tuesday, September 30, 2014 5:59 PM GMT

USC used to own Arizona State, but the Sun Devils have won two of the last three meetings, covering the spread in seven of the last nine. The Pac-12 South rivals meet again Saturday night at the Coliseum.

 

The Betting Odds
Many books opened USC at right around -10 for Saturday's game over Arizona State, but rather quickly bumped the Trojans to -12 or so. Those who think the Sun Devils can pull the upset in this spot can get a price of +350on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

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The Match-Up
USC is 3-1 both SU and ATS this season. The Trojans opened with a 52-13 romp over Fresno State, covering as an 18-point favorite. They then opened Pac-12 play with a 13-10 upset victory at Stanford. They then suffered a cross-country letdown, traveling three time zones East just to lose to Boston College 37-31. After a week off, though, USC bounced back to beat Oregon State last week 35-10, covering as an eight-point home favorite.

The Trojans got outgained by 122 yards against the Cardinal, and by 169 yards by the Eagles. They even gave up an amazing 452 yards on the ground to BC. But last week USC outgained OSU 461-181, outrushed the Beavers 200-58 and won time-of-possession 35-25. That's how you cover a pointspread.

Meanwhile, Arizona State is 3-1 SU but 1-3 ATS. The Devils opened with a 45-14 win over Weber State, but lost on the spread as a 45-point favorite. They then won at New Mexico 58-23, covering at -24. They then won at Colorado 38-24, but gave away the cover at -15. And last week ASU, without its starting quarterback, lost at home to UCLA 62-27, whiffing on the spread as three-point home dogs.

The Sun Devils got outgained by the Buffaloes 545-426, and lost the time-of-possession battle by a 35-25 margin. Last week ASU outgained the Bruins 627-580 and won time-of-possession 34-26, but it didn't do them any good, as UCLA scored on two 80-yard pass plays, a 95-yard interception return and a 100-yard kickoff return.

 

Sun Devils-Trojans Recent History
The last time these teams met it cost USC a head coach.

The Trojans led last year's game in Tempe 21-20 early in the third quarter, but ASU then scored 28 points over the next 12 minutes on its way to a 62-41 victory. The Devils covered the spread that night as four-point favorites, and that game flew 'over' its total of 49.

By the time the team plane had landed back in LA Southern Cal had fired head coach Lane Kiffin.

That game was a nightmare for defenses, as the teams combined for over 1,110 yards of offense, 500 yards on the ground, 14 touchdowns and a handful of long touchdown plays.

The Trojans actually won time-of-possession that night by a 34-26 margin, but lost the turnover battle 4-1.

USC had beaten Arizona State 11 times in a row from 2000-10, but the Sun Devils have won two of the last three meetings.

 

Sun Devils-Trojans Betting Trends
The 'over' is 3-1 in the last four games in this series.

Arizona State is 6-4 ATS in 10 games on the Pac-12 road under Coach Graham.

This is the first game under Graham the Sun Devils have been lined as double-digit dogs per college football odds.

USC is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 Pac-12 home games.

 

Injury Update
Arizona State played last week without starting quarterback Taylor Kelly, who's dealing with a foot injury; his return is unknown. For the time being the Sun Devils will be quarterbacked by junior Mike Bercovici, who looked good early against the UCLA Bruins, then piled up some big numbers while playing catch-up later. By the time the smoke had cleared the kid from Calabasas had thrown for 488 yards and three scores, with two interceptions.

 

Sun Devils-Trojans Free College Football Picks
This is a tough one; USC looked good against Oregon State, but not so good against Stanford and Boston College. Meanwhile, Arizona State might be able to move the ball with its back-up quarterback, but how many points will it give up? Bottom line; we give the Trojans the better chance of winning the ground game, a key factor when it comes to covering spreads. So we'll go with USC, at the -11.5 offered at Bookmaker, for our free college football picks.