USC Trojans vs California Golden Bears Betting Preview
Where: Kabam Field at California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA
When: Saturday, September 23, 2017 – 3:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ABC
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Betting on the USC Trojans (3-0)
The Trojans are off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2011. They are doing a lot of good things on both ends of the floor, but there’s also room for improvement in other areas.
Sam Darnold’s play has been quite decent, which sadly doesn’t really cut it overall, especially with how much hype he had prior to the season. It’s nice that he has led the way in every win, and his 334 passing yards per game average and 66.7 completion rate are also good numbers. However, his 7-6 touchdown-interception ratio is very telling of his tendency to force balls into tight spots.
We may see Darnold remain being a dangerous gunslinger at certain parts of the game, though, as he has a pair of talented wideouts – Deontay Burnett (384 yards, four TDs) and Steven Mitchell (223 yards, two TDs). His backfield support, Ronald Jones, is also providing some goods (322 yards on 5.5 yards per carry, five TDs).
Two of SC’s three wins are by 18 points, but overall, the defense surrenders 26.3 points per game. Their pass defense only allow opposing quarterbacks to tally 188 passing yards and complete 52.7 percent of their throws, but their efforts in stopping the run have them give up 167 yards per game on 4.6 yards per carry.
USC has won their last three road games (SU and ATS).
Betting on the California Golden Bears
The Golden Bears have also jumped to a 3-0 start, and similar to the Trojans, this is only their second time since 2011 to begin the season as such.
The similarities continue in the QB play, since Ross Bowers is also being a wildcard in some of his throws. He has serviceable numbers (266.3 passing YPG, 60.2 completion rate), but not with a shaky 5-4 TD-INT ratio – two of his three games on the season have him throwing a pair of interceptions.
Bowers will have a couple of emerging guys as his main weapons – receiver Vic Wharton, who’s now the main target of the passing game (259 yards on 17.3 yards per catch, two TDs), and running back Patrick Laird, who leads the team in total yards (372) and touchdowns (five).
As for the defense, it’s having trouble defending the pass, as they are getting blazed for 338.3 passing yards per game. It’s anyone’s guess how much Sam Darnold is licking his chops knowing that stat.
Dating back to the 2015 season, Cal has won eight of its last 10 games at home (6-4 ATS).
USC (+17) wins and overs the spread, 38-20.
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