College Football Picks Against the Spread Week 9: Stanford Cardinal vs. USC Trojans, Pac-12 Preview

Stanford Cardinal at USC Trojans
Saturday, 10/29/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  ABC
Opening Point Spread:  Stanford -9.5
Current Betting Line:  Stanford -7.5
Opening Total:  58
Current Total:  59.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Stanford Football
The Stanford Cardinal are the only team in college football to cover the spread in each game this season

Stanford will aim to extend the nation’s longest winning streak Saturday in taking on USC inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  The Cardinal are the only program nationally that have covered all of their games this season, including a 65-21 win as 18-point home favorites last week.  Most of the game was controlled on the ground, leading to a school-record 446 rushing yards, which isn’t surprising due to the team ranking 17th nationally on the ground.  “As a quarterback, it’s real fun to get the snap, hand it off and see those big guys work,”  commented Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck.  Stanford is 23-9 ATS over the last two-plus seasons and the ‘over’ is 17-15 in those contests.

The Cardinal have defeated their last 10 opponents by 25 or more points, compiling an average margin of victory of 35.2 points during that stretch.  Luck gains most of the accolades despite the team’s rushing success, as he enters as the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.  He has completed 88-of-117 passes for 1,102 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last four games.  The team usually jumps on opponents in outscoring the last 20 by a 453-145 margin in the first half.

USC returns home off a successful two-game road trip that included a 31-17 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as 9.5-point underdogs.  The Trojans controlled the entire game and out-gained the Irish by a sizable 185-yard margin.  “I hope that we grew up, going on the road in back-to-back weeks,” commented Trojans second-year head coach Lane Kiffin.  The team should be coming in with plenty of confidence and move back inside the AP Top 25 rankings.  USC is 3-1 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points over the last two-plus seasons.

The Trojans are led by the talented pass-catch duo of quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods, as they look to duplicate their efforts from a year ago in this rivalry.  Barkley threw for 390 passing yards and Woods finished with 12 catches for 224 yards and a career best-tying three scores.  Surprisingly enough, USC is just 5-8 against Stanford teams that come into this matchup as a ranked opponent.  The school is still a dominating 297-111-19 all-time when playing in October.

Bettors will likely back the Trojans due to their 9-4 ATS mark as an underdog, while the favorite in this series is 0-4 ATS in the last four meetings.

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