Pac-12 Conference Opener: Utah Utes at USC Trojans Betting Preview

Utah Utes at USC Trojans
Saturday, 9/10/11, 7:30 PM EST, TV:  Versus
Opening Point Spread:  USC -10.5
Current Betting Line:  USC -9
Opening Total:  53
Current Total:  52
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Matt Barkley USC Trojans Football
The USC Trojans survived a 19-17 scare at home against the Minnesota Gophers last week

Utah is set to play USC in the Pac-12 Conference’s first game since adding two new teams during the offseason.  The Utes are worthy opponents in this contest due to posting a 80-22 overall record since the start of the 2003 season.  Offensive coordinator Norm Chow has some ties to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, as he helped the Trojans become a college football power again during the early 2000s.  Everyone during practice this week was aware that the squad would need to play much better than last week’s 27-10 win over Montana State to be able to pull off the upset Saturday night.  Utah is 43-23 ATS as an underdog.

The Utes are 9-2 all-time in games televised by VERSUS and the school has 32 native Californians on the roster.  Utah enters with a 76-120-6 all-time mark against schools that make up the current Pac-12, including a 3-6 record against USC.  It wasn’t all bad for the offense during the opening week, as the rushing game ended up with 191 yards and the unit finished 4-of-4 in the red zone, scoring three touchdowns and a field goal.  Quarterback Jordan Wynn didn’t provide a very good performance in throwing for 101 yards, which was his lowest output in a game since entering a 2009 contest in the second half.

USC comes in off a lackluster 19-17 win over the Minnesota Gophers as 21-point home favorites and head coach Lane Kiffin was miffed at his team’s offensive performance in the second half.  “What I meant was there were two guys that had great games,” Kiffin stated about comments of only two good players on our offense that was misconstrued in the media.  Quarterback Matt Barkley connected with wide receiver Robert Woods early and often, as the speedy wide receiver finished last week with a school-record 17 receptions for 177 yards and three touchdowns.  USC is 3-10 ATS at home the last two-plus campaigns.

The Trojans have tallied a 66-18-5 record in league openers in school history, including a 38-7-3 mark when playing at home.  USC is also a dominating 411-128-27 all-time at the Coliseum.  Still, opponents are as intimidated playing against the team inside the venue as they once were, winning five of the last 10 games against the Trojans in Los Angeles.  It will be interesting to see if running back Marc Tyler gets some repetitions in the contest, as he was reinstated last week, coming off a 913-yard season a year ago.

Bettors will likely back the Trojans due to their 11-5 ATS mark when scoring 20 points or fewer, while the Utes are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games.

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