Sports Picks: Handicapping California Vs USC

California Golden Bears at USC Trojans
Saturday, 10/16/10, 3:30 PM EDT
Opening Point Spread:  USC -2.5
Current Betting Line:  USC -2.5
Opening Total:  55.5
Current Total:  54
Current Moneyline:  USC -135 / California +115

Matt Barkley USC Trojans Football
USC QB Matt Barkley needs a big game to snap the Trojans three-game losing streak

California returns to the road for a conference matchup with the USC Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.  The Bears were able to snap a two-game losing streak with a dominating 35-7 home win over UCLA on Homecoming last week.  Despite the up-and-down season, Cal has the same record it did last season after five games, but the difference being the team lost its first two conference games in 2009.  The squad has won all three home games and dropped its two road contests.  Both teams are unranked in this contest, marking the first time that neither team has been ranked for a USC-Cal contest since 2001.  The team is 17-12 ATS over the last three years and the total is 16-13 Over/Under in those contests.  With this game being lined around the key number of 3, be sure to compare odds at multiple sportsbooks via our college football lines page.

The Golden Bears are ranked first in the Pac-10 and eighth nationally in total defense in allowing just 254.8 yards per game.  Cal also has a potent offense that is scoring 35.8 points per contest and is led by running back Shane Vereen.  He is averaging 115.4 yards a game, a total that ranks second in the conference, but has rushed eight times for 10 yards in two career games versus the Trojans.  Quarterback Kevin Riley has also had his difficulty in this series, completing 19-of-56 passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions.  Turnovers may prove key in determining the outcome and the Golden Bears have forced at least one turnover in each of its five games.  The team has capitalized in scoring 55 points off turnovers and has allowed opponents in the red zone just 11 times.

USC is unranked after suffering back-to-back losses to Washington and Stanford, returning back to Southern California to start a three-game homestand.  “We’re five seconds away from being 6-0,” said head coach Lane Kiffin.  The Trojans have lost on last-play field goals in the past two weeks and will now look to continue their home dominance of today’s opponent, as the Golden Bears haven’t won at the Coliseum since 2000.  “The Coliseum is very loud and SC has great talent.  That hasn’t changed in one year,” said Cal head coach Jeff Tedford.  “They still have great players and they’re very athletic.”  USC leads the all-time series 62-30-5 and has won 40 of the last 51 meetings.  The squad is 8-13 ATS versus conference opponents and the total is 8-12 Over/Under in those contests.

The Trojans have been great offensively during the season, ranking 13th nationally in total offense, averaging 428.67 yards per game.  Quarterback Matt Barkley has been leading the charge by completing 113 of 174 passes for 1,517 yards and 15 touchdowns.  A main target emerged in the Stanford game for the sophomore quarterback, with freshman wide receiver Robert Woods catching 12 passes for 224 yards and three touchdowns.  Not much can be said on the other side of the ball, as the team ranks 100th in the nation in total defense, allowing 428.67 yards per game.  “We’ve struggled on defense in every part of the game,” Kiffin said.  “We have to do a better job playing, a better job coaching.”

Bettors will be interested in playing the Golden Bears due to their 18-7-1 ATS mark as a road underdog, while the Trojans are a solid 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games following a straight up loss.  Maddux Sports has had a great run with their football handicapping this season.  College football bettors are up over $11,000 and we are also on a 67% NFL picks streak.  We have isolated a side in the Cal Vs USC game and know this should be an easy winner.  Check out our weekly college football picks package that includes 7 winners for Saturday including our prediction on the California/USC football game.

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