Pick with Analysis
It’s been an interesting season for both of these teams so far and one team is in a much better situation than the other. However, even with a 5-0 undefeated record and No. 10 rank in the AP, Arizona is a +2.5 point underdog at home against USC at the worlds largest offshore sportsbook, sportsbook.ag.
The Trojans were a top 10 team just under a month ago. They were 2-0 and coming off a win at Stanford. They then lost to Boston College and more recently are coming off a 38-34 loss to Arizona State that ended in a hail mary.
Arizona was 4-0 and beat some weaker teams by single digits so no one gave them a ton of credit. The Wildcats then travelled to Oregon and beat the Ducks for the second straight year. To go along with that, one of the teams they beat, California, is currently leading the Pac-12 North. There’s no doubt we could be getting ahead of Ourselves with these teams, but we have to give credit where it’s due.
The Trojans won this Game at home last year 38-31 and the Scorewas a bit closer than the Game really was. USC was ahead by double digits for almost the entire Game and then Zona got a couple late touchdowns in the Fourth quarter. Neither team turned it over and both moved the ball well, but it was USC’s running Game that was the deciding factor as they had 249 yards and 3 TDs rushing. It will have to be the Wildcats defense to step up if they want to pull off another upset.
Even in their losses, USC has been steady on the offensive side. Their run Game continues to excel with Javorius Allen (576 yards, 4 TDs) and Justin Davis leading the way. That has opened up passing lanes for Cody Kessler where he is having a great season numbers wise, completing 69.5% of his passes for 10 TDs and zero INTs. However, the zero touchdowns against Arizona State kind of stand out. He and Nelson Agholor found plenty of success in this matchup last season going for 161 of Kessler’s 297 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats bring a bit of a different offense to the table with a new QB and RB, but they have had equal amounts of success. Freshman Anu Solomon has been great at quarterback already with 1,741 yards, 14 TDs and 4 INTs. When asked, he has stepped up and given this team what they needed, especially in the 49-45 win over Cali when he had 520 yards and 5 TDs on 73 pass attempts. The run Game has also stood out with Nick Wilson (574 yards, 6 TDs) finding room in every Game along with Terris Jones-Grigsby.
After Arizona’s upset of Oregon last year, they followed it up with a bad 58-21 loss at Arizona State. Something like that could happen again, or we’ll find out if this team is for real or not.
The Trojans are 5-0 ATS in their last five following a straight-up loss, but only 3-12 ATS in their last 15 road Games. The Wildcats are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven following a straight-up win and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 vs. a team with a winning record. The underdog is 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings between these schools, which leads to Arizona being 7-2 ATS over that same time period.
You would have to go back to 2006 to find a final Scorethat was lopsided in this series. The last 7 Games have been decided by a TD or less and in that stretch of Games were some very good USC teams. The last time they played in Arizona the Wildcats came out on top 39-36.
Our numbers show a similar outcome this time around. A Game that likely reaches the 30’s for both sides. Our numbers suggest USC wins a very close Game however, in this spot, the intangibles take over. Specifically, the chance for Arizona to legitimize it’s #10 ranking and make this their best start in 21 years. This is THE biggest home Game for the Wildcats in a couple of decades and that trumps the potential letdown factor. At +2.5, all we need it a straight up win. It looks as though there may be some +3’s showing up as well. Arizona +3 but ultimately, we’d even play this one on the moneyline as a straight up win looks to be in the cards.