UCLA – USC Free Pick

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College Football

Free Pick


This may be UCLA-USC, but once again there are no implications between these teams, although it would mess some things up if the Bruins won. The Trojans still could win the Pac-12 and make a decent bowl if everything works out. They were heavy -16 point home favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

This spread seems kind of small, but some of that can be attributed to this being a rivalry Game. The only problem is that USC has won the last two by at least 19 points with last year’s 36-14 win at the Rose Bowl standing out. The other part of the spread is that Josh Rosen returned to the field yesterday and he got UCLA back to winning, albeit against lowly Arizona State. Rosen has fine numbers with 21 touchdowns and 3,094 yards, but he’s the only positive for this team. And while Rosen can score, UCLA still lost two Games by more than 14 points with Rosen at quarterback (47-30 at AZ, 58-34 at Stanford).

OUtside of Rosen, there’s little to takeaway for this UCLA offense. As a whole, its running Game is better than a year ago, but still only averages 4.3 yards per carry with its top RB at less than 500 yards. Covering this Game may fall to Bolu Olorunfunmi because if he can’t surpass 50 rushing yards, it’ll be tough to hold onto the ball and keep USC from scoring with ease.

USC’s defense has been plenty problematic, but has done enough to win the last three Games all by at least 14 points. As a whole, the Trojans are still allowing 402 yards per Game and could easily give up 30 points to Rosen, but it may be possible for USC to reach 50 points.

The Bruins have one of the worst defenses in the country, giving up close to 40 points and 500 yards per Game. They have the worst run defense by far, allowing an astronomical 302 rushing yards per contest, which isn’t a recipe for success against USC.

While Sam Darnold is the big name on this team, running back Ronald Jones II will be the one having a career Game against UCLA. Jones has hit at least 140 yards in each of the last three Games and has six touchdowns in that period. It’s more than possible he can reach 200 rushing yards by himself with one of his backups also putting in good numbers. Throw in Darnold, who’s been efficient against bad defenses, and he could be in for 300 yards and a couple touchdowns, as well, as long as the Trojans ask him to pass.

USC’s defense has looked better in recent weeks and that’s the main reason to back them here. Still, a late cover by Rosen is more than possible against this defense. The Bruins are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 Games and 1-9 ATS in their last 10 following a straight-up win. The Trojans are 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine overall and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven following a straight-up win. The home team is 15-6 ATS in the last 21 meetings and USC is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these schools at the Coliseum.

Our Pick – USC -15

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