A pair of teams from the Pac-12 Conference will square off this evening as the USC Trojans rumble with the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Trojans enter this game off a 31-20 home win over Colorado, while the Utes check in off a strong 42-10 home win over Arizona. The Trojans won this game at home last year by a score of 28-27.
USC Hands Buffaloes Their First Loss Of The Year
The USC Trojans have had their ups and downs this year, but they seem to have gotten their act together as they come in having won their last three games in a row after going just 1-2 over their first three games. They enter this game off a 31-20 home win over previously unbeaten Colorado. Many felt that the Trojans would expose a Colorado team that hasn’t played anyone year and “Many” was right. USC’s defense has been very average this year but it really stepped up against the Buffaloes as they allowed them just 265 yards of total offense. Colorado threw for just 170 yards in the game and on just 3.6 yards per attempt. Yikes. The Trojans are 50th in total defense, 50th against the pass, 60th against the run and 62nd in points allowed, giving up25.2 ppg.
Get your highlights from last night’s win over #19 Colorado 🎬#FightOn✌️
— USC Football (@USC_FB) October 15, 2018
The offense was expected to be very good with freshman JT Daniels under center, but he hasn’t lived up to the hype so far. He threw for 272 yards and three TDs against the Buffalos but also tossed a couple of picks. For the year, he has thrown for 1529 yards with seven Tds and five INTs on just 58.7% passing. Not great, but the Trojans will have to rely on him to win their game as their ground attack ranks 113th in the nation, while the Utes are 2nd in the land against the run. Daniels will not have a running game to take the pressure off in this one. It’s time for the kid to really step up. USC ranks 90th in total offense, 46th in passing and 92nd in scoring at 25.2 ppg.
Utes Tame The Wildcats
The Utah Utes started their Pac-12 schedule with two losses to the Washington schools but they were able to bounce back with a 40-21 road win over Stanford and then they followed that up with a 42-10 home win over Arizona last Friday night. The Utes have been average on offense for much of the year but don’t tell the Wildcats that as Utah ran for 235 yards and threw for 265 yards on them. It was one of the better outputs for Utah on the year, but it will not be easy to keep it going in this one as the Trojans can play some defense. Tyler Huntley threw for 201 yards with two TDs and one INTs before giving way to backups. He has hit 63.7% of his passes for 1195 yards with seven TDs and three INTs on the year. Zach Moss is the one that the Trojans may have to stop. He leads the team in rushing with 617 yards and has done so at 5.6 yards per pop. USC is very average against the run.
— Utah Football (@Utah_Football) October 13, 2018
Overall, the offense is not great for the Utes as they are 68th in total yards, 82nd in passing, 48th in rushing and 72nd in scoring at 28.5 ppg. This is a team that relies on their defense to win games and it has been very tough this year. In their win over Arizona, they allowed the Wildcats just 318 yards of total offense, including just 72 yards on the ground. Their run defense has been outstanding this year as it ranks 2nd in the nation, giving up just 77.3 ypg and the Trojans have no ground attack at all. That means that the Utes will be able to tee off on JT Daniels and we do note that the Utes are 28th in the nation in sacks per game at 3.0. Utah checks in at 10th in total defense, 69th against the pass and 10th in points allowed, giving up just 16.0 ppg.
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game
- 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
- 20-8-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 8-21-1 ATS in their last 30 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a straight up win.
- 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games overall
Updated on Oct 20 at 4:00pm EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The Line started at Utah -6.5 and it has stayed that way with 53% of the bets coming in on the Utes. there may be some slight sharp money coming in on the Trojans in this one.
Injury / Weather Report
High 50’s and clear. no weather issues for this one.
USC’s Injury Report:
LB Porter Gustin (28 Tackles, 7.5 Sacks) has been lost of the season. LB Palaie Gaoteote (2 TFL) is questionable. This is not a defense that needs injuries and Gustin is a big loss for them.
Utah’s Injury Report:
DE Mika Tafua (One Sack) and WR Siaosi Mariner (7 catches, 82 yards) are both questionable.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Trojans are playing well at the moment, but so are the Utes. The Trojans have won their last three games by a combined 18 points, while Utah has won their last two by a combined 51 points. I feel that the Utes can get the Job done here at home. The Trojans have no running game at all and that will make them one dimensional. That is not good against a fierce pass rush that Utah possesses. Utah has a huge edge on defense and I see their offense putting up enough to get the cover in this one.
Prediction: Utah -6.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This one looks like a low scoring game. Both teams have not been great on offense this year and both can play defense. The Utes still have the better defense, but USC has the ability to shut teams down and their defense should rise up some in this one. The Under is 7-3 in USC’s last 10 games in October and 11-5 in their last 16 games following an ATS win, while the Under is 7-1 in Utah’s last eight games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
Prediction: Under 49
Half-Time Side Pick
The Trojans are playing better at the moment, but they are still not the team that many expected them to be at the beginning of the year. The Utes have pounded their last two opponents and I look for them to get out to a solid start in this one.
Prediction: Utah -4
Half-Time Total Bet
This is a huge game for both teams in the Pac-12 and both will bring their defenses. The Utes have allowed just 9.2 ppg in the first half, while the Trojans have allowed just 12.5 ppg in the first half. Big games breed defensive battles and this should be a low scoring game from the start. 13-7 Utes at the break.
Prediction: Under 23.5