Things are about to get real in the Pac-12 this weekend with Stanford hosting USC. Both teams won their opening Games by more than 20 points, but the Cardinal arguably looked a bit better having faced a better opponent. The Cardinal are favored by -5.5 points at home with an over/under of 56.5 points at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Things went almost exactly as they did a year ago for USC in the opener as it struggled to separate until the Fourth quarter against UNLV. The Trojans led 19-14 entering the Fourth quarter and then needed some short fields to pile the points on. There are still questions for the offense without Sam Darnold as freshman JT Daniels was fine under center, completing 22-of-35 passes for 282 yards and one touchdown. Of course, UNLV and Stanford have vastly different defenses and that’s the main selling point for the Cardinal after holding SDSU to only 10 points. USC will focus on the ground Game between Aca’Cedric Ware and Stephen Carr and that could be enough to move the ball, but that won’t be enough to win the Game. SDSU took its run-first approach and went for 150 rushing yards against Stanford, yet that was all it could do.
The Cardinal may not only have a better defense, but their offense could be at the same level as USC’s this season. Bryce Love was held to only 29 yards in the opener, but he’s still an elite talent and his Heisman possibilities aren’t gone just yet. The only way to stop him is by stacking the box and that’s what SDSU did. Of course, that also led to a huge Game for K.J. Costello as he posted 332 yards and Four touchdowns. Costello has brought another dynamic to the Stanford offense since becoming starter and that could play a big part in this one.
Costello didn’t start the first Game between these teams last year in a 42-24 USC win, but he did in the Pac-12 title Game and almost led an upset, but USC won 31-28. The main difference between this Game and the title Game is that Darnold is no longer there after he carved up the Stanford defense. If Daniels can do the same, that’d be nice for the Trojans, but that likely won’t happen. And with this Game coming at Stanford, which neither did last year, the Cardinal get another boost as they try to reverse the series.
Both teams should move the ball fine on the ground, which is what happened in both Games last year and that led to two Games hitting 59 points. Love should get back on track in this one and playing at home with a more experienced quarterback, Stanford gets the edge.
The Cardinal don’t have many trends, but are 4-1 ATS in their last five at home. The Trojans are 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 overall and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven road Games. The Cardinal are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the over has also hit in Four of those.
Our Pick – Stanford -5