Not many expected Colorado to be the ranked team in this matchup, but even with that being the case, it’s the unranked team that’s favored by more than a touchdown. USC was a -7.5 point home favorite with an over/under of 57 as seen on Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Given the situation for both of these teams, the spread is odd, even with the Game being played at the Coliseum. The Buffs are on the road, but they’re also undefeated and showed they were for real last week after taking down Arizona State. Sure, ASU isn’t a powerhouse, but USC isn’t either, winning its last two Games by a combined seven points. The 17-3 loss at Stanford is also looking worse by the day for the Trojans.
When these teams met late last year, it was a much different situation as Colorado wasn’t even good enough for a bowl. They battled but Sam Darnold was too much and the Trojans won on the road 38-24. The tables have seemed to turn mainly because Colorado may have the better quarterback in this Game.
Steven Montez has taken a jump in his junior season, completing 75.2% of his passes for 11 touchdowns, two picks and 9.28 yards per attempt. Those lofty numbers probably won’t continue, but it’s still a major improvement from last year. Even better is that the Buffs have shown a balanced offense with Travon McMillian averaging 6.3 yards per carry. As long as this offense continues that consistency and keeps the chains moving, that would be enough to keep this Game close. It’d also be a mistake not to mention playmaker LAviska Shenault, who has 10 total touchdowns and some of the best receiving numbers in the country with 51 receptions and 708 yards.
The Trojans defense is as mediocre as it gets, allowing 380 yards per Game and a disappointing 163 of those coming on the ground. After giving up 20 points to Arizona last week and 36 to Washington State before that, there’s no reason Montez and company won’t move the ball.
The only reason USC should win this Game is because of its running Game led by Aca’Cedric Ware and Stephen Carr. Both of those guys are averaging at least 5.9 yards per carry and should find plenty of holes against a defense giving up 154 rushing yards per contest. But the other reason to take Colorado to cover is JT Daniels because he’s not a quarterback that’s going to run up the Scorefor the Trojans. The freshman has talent, but he’s still inexperienced and doesn’t have a touchdown in three of five starts, including last week’s win at Arizona. Nothing about USC shows that it can blowout a decent team, especially one that let Montez pass for 376 yards in the last meeting. In fact, it was a similar spot two years ago when USC won just 21-17 and Colorado covered as a five-point underdog.
The Buffaloes are 4-1 ATS in their last five overall, but 1-4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Trojans are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 Games overall and haven’t covered in their last Four at home or in the last Four against a team with a winning record. The home team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these schools, though Colorado is 3-1-1 ATS in the last five.
Our Pick – Colorado +7