College Football Pick
USC has pulled itself out of the gutter the last two Games and while wins over Arizona State and Colorado don’t seem like much, the Pac-12 South is still wide open. The Trojans still haven’t won a road Game yet this season, but get a good chance at doing so this weekend at Arizona. The Trojans opened as an -8 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
USC’s offense has gotten a shot to its arm since Sam Darnold took over as starting quarterback. While beating up on ASU and Colorado may not look like much, Max Browne wasn’t really getting anything done prior to that, even if two of their losses were against Alabama and Stanford. The Trojans now get an extremely winnable road Game against an Arizona team that can’t ever seem to have a healthy team.
The Wildcats haven’t been terrible by any means. They took Washington to the brink in overtime a few weeks ago and have followed that up with two road losses against solid teams. That loss to Washington is reason enough to doubt USC’s ability to cover. Arizona has been decent at home this season despite losses, while USC hasn’t won on the road yet.
The Trojans won this Game 38-30 last season, but they needed a Fourth-quarter rally and 21 late points to do so. They won via 229 rushing yards, while the Wildcats couldn’t really get anything going on the ground. USC has been able to run a little better the last couple Games and they’ll likely take a similar route in this one.
The question for the Wildcats is fairly obvious. Regular starting quarterback Anu Solomon just can’t stay healthy and hasn’t played since the opener. His backup, Brandon Dawkins, was looking fine, but picked up a head injury last weekend and true freshman Khalil Tate stepped in whose only 17 years old. Tate actually hasn’t looked all that bad and is another dual-threat option, but expecting him to lead this team to a win here would be a long shot. In addition to his mobility, Tate has three touchdown passes on only 10 completions.
It’ll be interesting to see how this team performs if Tate is the one under center from the start. The other problem for the Wildcats is that starting tailback Nick Wilson is struggling with injury. Arizona is on about their third string RB now and with Dawkins leading the team in rushing, it’s expected Tate will run the ball plenty.
On the other side, Arizona has more problems. They couldn’t stop this USC offense a year ago and could run into all the same problems. Darnold has been an upgrade at quarterback and is completing close to 70% of his passes the last two Games while also throwing for 350-plus yards and three TDs in each contest. But the Trojans will likely lean on Justin Davis and Ronald Jones as much as possible on the ground. The Wildcats have been gashed on the ground the last three Games, namely 352 rushing yards allowed to Washington.
It’s hard to trust USC on the road right now, but does anyone want to throw money on the 17-year-old Tate if he’s Arizona’s starting quarterback?
The Trojans are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 overall and 1-4 ATS in their last five Pac-12 Games. The Wildcats are 5-11 ATS in their last 16 home Games and 1-7 ATS in their last eight overall.
Our Pick – We’re going to stay away from the side in this one and instead go UNDER the total of 64