College Football Week 3 Picks: Syracuse Orange at USC Trojans

Syracuse Orange at USC Trojans
Saturday, 9/17/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  FX
Opening Point Spread:  USC -14.5
Current Betting Line:  USC -14.5
Opening Total:  47.5
Current Total:  49.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Matt Barkley USC Trojans Football
The USC Trojans continue to be overvalued this season by the oddsmakers

Syracuse has only visited the state of California eight times, posting a 5-3 mark in those contests.  The last time it happened was back in 1968, dropping a 43-0 contest to Cal.  The Orange picked up victories in consecutive games at home leading into this game, handing Wake Forest a 36-29 loss and tallying a 21-14 win over Rhode Island.  It’s an important contest underneath the bright lights of the Los Angeles Coliseum and the locker room seems ready to perform.  “They suit up just like we do,” commented Orange nose tackle Deon Goggins.  “They put on the same equipment, the same shoes.”  Syracuse is 1-5 ATS as an underdog of 10.5 to 21 points and the ‘under’ is 4-2 over that span.

The Orange will be aiming to improve the school’s record against current Pac-12 schools to 18-11, while also giving the program its first 3-0 start since the 1991 season.  Quarterback Ryan Nassib is one of the more accurate passers in the nation, hitting 75.4 percent of his attempts.  Dating back to the 2010 bowl game, Nassib has connected on 62-of-88 passes for 735 yards and nine touchdowns versus one interception.

USC finishes out its three-game homestand and has won its first two contests by a combined 11 points, capturing wins over Minnesota (19-17) and Utah (23-14).  The Trojans have out-gained their opponents by a combined 166 yards.  In now playing a Big East school, the program will be looking to improve upon its 9-4 record against such opponents.  USC is also 412-128-27 all-time inside the Coliseum and 168-39-8 when playing games in September.  Over the last two-plus seasons, the Trojans are 4-10 ATS in front of the home faithful.

The Trojans were glad that running back Marc Tyler returned after a one-game suspension, gaining 113 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown last week.  It gives the team a balanced attack, as he ran for 913 yards in 2010, while scoring nine touchdowns and gaining 5.3 yards per carry.  Quarterback Matt Barkley and wide receiver Robert Woods continue to be one of the best combinations nationally.  Woods is tied for second nationally with 12.5 receptions per game.  “If we execute our game plan and work together, we can gain a lot of yards every week,” stated Tyler during practice.  “This week is a great opportunity.”

Bettors will likely back the Trojans due to their 5-2 ATS mark at home versus winning road teams, while the Orange are 1-5 ATS as an underdog of 10.5 or more points.

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