Pac 12 College Football Betting: Arizona Wildcats at USC Trojans

Arizona Wildcats at Southern CaliforniaTrojans
Los Angeles Coliseum – Los Angeles, California

Thursday, October 10, 2013, 10:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: USC -6
Current Line: USC -6
Opening Total: 48 1/2
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: USC -250 / Arizona +210
Current Money Line: USC -250 / Arizona +210

USC is a 6 point favorite at home against Arizona two weeks after firing coach Lane Kiffin.
USC is a 6 point favorite at home against Arizona two weeks after firing coach Lane Kiffin.

Two weeks ago the USC Trojans lost their second Pac 12 game of the season in a 62-41 blowout at Arizona State. The Trojans fell to 3-2 on the season and USC athletic director Pat Haden fired coach Lane Kiffin in the parking lot of LAX airport after the team returned from Tempe. Former Ole Miss head coach and current Trojans assistant Ed Orgeron was named the interim coach. Now the Trojans look to get their first Pac 12 win this season as they host the 3-1 Arizona Wildcats Thursday night. Both teams are coming off a bye. USC leads the series against Arizona 28-8 but the Wildcats won last year in Tuscon 39-36.

Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats lost their first game of the season two weeks ago  31-13 at Washington. Arizona has wins at home against Northern Arizona 35-0 and Texas-San Antonio 38-13 along with a road win at UNLV 58-13. The Wildcats are 2-2 ATS and the total is 1-3 this season. Arizona was an 8.5 point underdog at Washington and the total was 60.

Washington jumped out to an 11-0 lead early against Arizona and the whole game was played in a driving rain storm. Both teams missed extra points in the first half and Washington would take an 11-6 lead into halftime. The Huskies would outscore the Wildcats 20-7 in the second half to take the 18 point victory in the Pac 12 opener for both schools. Washington had 409 total yards including 244 rushing yards. Arizona had 318 total yards including 199 rushing yards. Both teams had 7 penalties and the Wildcats had 2 turnovers to 1 for the Huskies.

Arizona is outscoring teams 36-15 this season. The Wildcats are #36 nationally in scoring and #9 in points allowed. Arizona is averaging 402.8 yards per game including the nation’s tenth best rushing attack at 291.5 yards per game. The passing game is #120 out of 125 teams at 111.2 yards per game. On defense, the Wildcats are allowing 335 yards per game including 185.8 passing and 149.2 yards per game. Arizona is 19th in total defense and 22nd in pas defense. The Wildcats are +5 in turnovers with 9 takeaways. Arizona is 36/76 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 30/78. Arizona averages 34 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 67. The Wildcats have forced 6 sacks and allowed 5. Arizona is 13/15 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns, and opponents are 6/7 with 5 touchdowns. The Wildcats have 3 pick sixes this season.

Arizona quarterback B.J. Denker has completed 50% of his passes for 445 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 picks. Denker also has 51 carries, 280 yards and 6 touchdowns. Running back Ka’Deem Carey has 73 carries, 431 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 82 yards. Daniel Jenkins has 39 carries, 252 yards and a touchdown, along with 5 catches for 23 yards and a touchdown. Jared Baker, Javelle Allen and Kylan Butler will also get some carries. Allen and Butler each have a rushing touchdown. Garic Wharton and Samajie Grant will get most of the receiving targets on the few times the Wildcats throw the ball. Two Wildcat receiver DaVonte Neal and Austin Hill are all listed as questionable or out, and so are four Arizona defensive players including 3 linebackers.

USC also has a loss at home to Washington State 10-7 along with wins at Hawaii 30-13 and at home against Boston College 35-7 and Utah State 17-14. The Trojans are 1-4 ATS and the total is 1-4 this season. USC was a 3,5 point underdog in the 62-41 blowout loss at Arizona State and the total was 48.5.

USC took a 14-7 lead early in the second, but Arizona State would score 13 unanswered points before halftime to take a 20-14 lead into the locker room. USC would briefly regain the lead 21-10 early in the third, but the Sun Devils would score 28 points before the end of the third to take a 48-21 lead. Arizona State would hold on for the 21 point rout. ASU had 612 total yards including a balanced 351 passing and 261 rushing yards. USC had 542 total yards including 247 rushing yards. The Trojans had 4 turnovers including a pick six and the Wildcats had one.

The Trojans are outscoring teams 26-21 this season. USC is #88 in scoring and #36 in points allowed out of 125 teams. USC is averaging 380.4 total yards per game, including 189.8 passing and 190.6 rushing yards. USC is #89 in total offense and #104 in passing.  The Trojans are allowing 306.8 total yards per game including just 99.6 rushing yards per game and 207.2 passing yards. USC is #13 in rush defense, #14 in total defense and #33 in pass defense nationally. USC is -1 in turnovers with 8 takeaways.  The Trojans have forced 17 sacks and allowed 13. USC is 22/72 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 25/80. The Trojans are averaging 61 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 56.  USC is 12/14 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns, and opponents are 9/12 with 7 touchdowns. The Trojans have one pick six this season and have allowed one also.

Cody Kessler and Max Wittek were splitting the snaps at quarterback but Kessler appears to have won the job as he has taken most of the snaps the last two games.  Kessler has thrown for 832 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. Wittek has thrown for 117 yards with a pick.  Running back Tre Madden has 110 carries for 583 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with  12 catches for 135 yards and 3 touchdowns. Justin Davis has 42 carries, 311 yards and 5 touchdowns.  Running backs D.J. Morgan and Silas Redd are both listed as questionable Saturday with knee injuries, so Madden should continue to get the carries. Receiver Marqise Lee has 30 catches for 385 yards and a touchdown. He is also doubtful with an ankle injury. Nelson Agholor has 11 catches, 192 yards and a touchdown. Xavier Grimble has 10 catches, 127 yards and a touchdown. Four defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report for the Trojans.

Arizona is 4-1 ATS in October, 5-2 in Thursday games, 10-4 after a bye week, 6-13 after a straight up loss, 1-4 in Pac 12 games, and after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 1-5 on grass, 0-4 against teams with winning records, and after scoring less than 20 points. The underdog has covered the last 8 in this series. The Wildcats are 7-1 ATS in the last 8 against the Trojans including 4-0 in LA.

USC is 8-3 ATS after allowing 40 points or more, 13-6 after a bye week, 1-4 after scoring more than 40 points, after failing to cover, after rushing for 200 yards or more, and in October, 2-8 against teams with winning records, 1-5 in Pac 12 games, after gaining more than 450 total yards, after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, and on grass, 1-6 after passing for more than 280 yards, 1-7 overall, 1-8 after allowing 450 total yards or more, and 0-5 against teams with winning road records. The last 7 in the series have gone under the total.

USC scored 41 points last week but before that they had struggled on offense. The Trojans were shredded on defense though after the defense had been dominant before. Arizona has a much better defense than Arizona State and I like the Wildcats to pull off the upset on the road. Beware though, sometimes mid-season coaching changes motivate underachieving teams to play better.

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