College Football Betting Picks: USC Trojans at California Golden Bears

Southern California Trojans at California Golden Bears
California Memorial Stadium – Berkeley, California
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: USC -6 1/2
Current Line: USC -3 1/2
Opening Total: 65
Current Total: 68
Opening Money Line: USC -240 / California +200
Current Money Line: USC -180 / California +160

USC is a 3.5 point favorite against Cal Saturday in Berkeley.
USC is a 3.5 point favorite against Cal Saturday in Berkeley.

The 5-2 California Golden Bears host the 4-3 Southern California Trojans Saturday in a key Pac 12 contest. Cal is 2-2 and in fourth place in the Pac 12 North Division. The Golden Bears are looking to become bowl eligible for the first time since the 2011 season. USC is 2-2 and tied for second with UCLA behind 3-1 Utah in the Pac 12 South Division.

USC leads the series 67-30-5 against California. The Trojans have won 11 straight games in the series dating back to 2004. USC won last year in Los Angeles 38-30. Eight of the Eleven games in the winning streak have been by double digits.

USC is coached by interim coach Clay Helton. He took over a few weeks ago after Steve Sarkisian was fired partly for a mediocre start but more importantly because he needed help for an alcohol addiction problem. USC has home wins over Arkansas State 55-6, Idaho 59-9 and last week against Utah 42-24, along with a road win at Arizona State 42-14. The Trojans have home losses to Stanford 41-31 and Washington 17-12 along with a road loss at Notre Dame 41-31.

The Trojans were 6 point favorites against Utah and the total was 57. USC was favored despite Utah entering the game undefeated and ranked #3 in the country. Utah led 14-7 at the end of the first, but USC scored 21 straight points to open the second. The Trojans would never trail again. Utah had 4 turnovers including a pick six late in the first half. USC is 4-3 ATS and the total is 4-3 this season.

California is coached by Sonny Dykes. The Golden Bears have lost two straight games at Utah 30-24 and last Thursday against UCLA 40-24. Cal has home wins over Grambling 73-14, San Diego State 35-7 and Washington State 34-28. The Golden Bears have road wins at Texas 45-44 and Washington 30-24.

The Golden Bears were 3.5 point underdogs at UCLA and the total was 68.5. Cal took an early 3-0 lead but would trail 26-10 at halftime. The Bruins would cruise to the 16 point win. California had 426 total yards to 573 for UCLA. Cal is 4-3 ATS and the total is 2-5 this season.

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USC is outscoring teams 39-22 this season. The Trojans are #14 in scoring and #34 in points allowed nationally. USC averages 492 total yards on offense including 327 passing and 165 rushing yards. The Trojans are #18 or better in both passing and total offense. On defense, Southern Cal is allowing 395 total yards including 238 passing and 158 rushing yards. The Trojans have forced 14 turnovers and have 7 of their own. USC averages 69 penalty yards per game and opponents average 44. The Trojans are 38/96 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 39/110. Southern Cal has forced 17 sacks and allowed 19 this season. The Trojans are 26/31 scoring in the red zone with 22 touchdowns and opponents are 18/23 with 13 touchdowns. USC has three defensive touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Cody Kessler has completed 69.3% of his passes for 2,082 yards with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Max Browne has thrown for 113 yards.

Running back Tre Madden has 63 carries for 356 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 113  yards and a touchdown. Ronald Jones II has 59 carries for 453 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Justin Davis has 53 carries for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 117 yards.

Receiver Juju Smith-Schuster has 47 catches for 901 yards and 8 touchdowns. Adoree’ Jackson has 17 catches for 316 yards and 2 touchdowns. Steven Mitchell, Jr. has 15 catches for 129 yards and 4 touchdowns.  Issac Whitney has 8 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darreus Rogers has 11 catches for 114 yards. He is probable with a hamstring injury. Jalen Greene will also get some targets. Receivers Steven Mitchell and Isaac Whitney, along with tight end Tyler Petite are all questionable or out. The Trojans have three offensive linemen listed on the injury report.

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Cal is outscoring teams 38-27 this season. California is #21 in scoring nationally.  The Golden Bears average 505 yards per game on offense, including 347 passing and 158 rushing. Cal is #16 in total offense and #10 in passing.  California is allowing 420 total yards per game on defense, including 260 passing and 161 rushing yards. The Bears have forced 22 turnovers and have 16 of their own. Cal averages 38 penalty yards per game and opponents average 68 yards per game.  The Golden Bears are 53/117 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 47/115. Cal has forced 20 sacks and allowed 20 of their own. The Bears are 32/37 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns. Opponents are 22/23 with 15 touchdowns. The Golden Bears have two pick sixes and a fumble return for a touchdown this season.

Quarterback Jared Goff has completed 65.5% of his passes for 2,265 yards with 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Back-up Chase Forrest has thrown for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Running back Daniel Lasco is probable with a hip injury. He has 38 carries for 178 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 31 yards. Khalfani Muhammad has 51 carries for 429 yards and a touchdown, plus 13 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Vic Enwere has 68 carries for 310 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 6 catches. Tre Watson has 37 carries for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 2 catches for 27 yards.

Receiver Kenny Lawler has 39 catches for 497 yards and 9 touchdowns. Stephen Anderson has 28 catches for 348 yards. Darius Powe has 24 catches for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Trevor Davis has 16 catches for 346 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bryce Treggs has 20 catches for 296 yards and 2 touchdowns.   Maurice Harris has 19 catches for 220 yards and 3 touchdowns.

USC is 2-5 ATS after scoring more than 40 points, 6-15 in road games, 7-20 after a straight up win, 3-10 against teams with winning home records, and 1-5 after a cover. The road team is 6-2 ATS in this series recently. The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six between the teams, and USC has been the favorite in each of those contests. The Trojans have covered in their last five trips to Berkeley.

Cal is 5-1 ATS after a straight up loss, and after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 17-35 after a straight up loss, 4-9 in October, 6-18 at home, and 1-5 against teams with winning records. The under is 9-2 in this series recently including 4-1 in Berkeley.

The Golden Bears are much better and will almost certainly return to a bowl. However, they aren’t good enough to snap the long losing streak against the Trojans. Cal hangs around for awhile but  USC pulls away late.

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