Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#105 USC -11.5 vs.
#106 Colorado 60
Friday, October 25, 2019 at 9:00pm EDT
Folsom Field, Boulder
Written by Adam Rauzino

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#105 University of Southern California
#106 University of Colorado Boulder
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The USC Trojans will head on the road to battle the Colorado Buffaloes in a PAC-12 showdown Friday night from Folsom Field. The USC Trojans enter this one with confidence after snapping a two-game slide with a dominating 41-14 home win against Arizona last week. They own a 3-1 PAC-12 record along with Utah atop the PAC-12 South. The Trojans’ lone conference loss came against Utah. USC is dealing with several injuries. Their rushing leader Vavae Malepeai is out with a knee injury. The Trojans remain out of the AP Top 25 rankings, and they could slide back in with a win in this one. UCS stands at 0-3 on the road.

The Colorado Buffaloes' tough PAC-12 schedule resumes against another strong opponent. The Buffaloes are having a difficult time navigating their conference schedule, compiling a 1-3 record through four games. They have dropped three straight games which involved a rough 41-10 road loss to Washington State last week. Colorado is struggling in both ends of the field, and they hold a 2-2 home record.

USC Ends Slide with Dominating Home Win

The USC Trojans play three of their next four games on the road starting with this one. USC will be looking to win consecutive games for the first time since they opened the season with two wins. The Trojans rebounded from a loss to Notre Dame by pouring on the points in a 41-14 home win against Arizona last week in a game that had USC labeled as 10.5 point favorites. Kedon Slovis was sharp in the victory, connecting on 19 of 28 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. The freshman QB owns a 4:0 TD to INT ratio in his last two games, and he has 1219 passing yards with a 9:4 TD to INT ratio on the year. USC’s #1 QB JT Daniels was injured in week one with a torn ACL which resulted in a tough season-ending injury.

The Trojans were leaning on Markese Stepp on the ground due to the injury to leading rusher Vavae Malepeai. However, Stepp is now injured and won’t play this week. This opens the door for freshman RB Kenan Christon who collected 103 rushing yards on eight attempts in his only action of the season last week.

“Obviously he’s fast and special with the ball, but what I didn’t know coming in was how physical he’d be and how tough he’d be and if he wanted to run between those tackles,” Harrell said. “Getting as many reps as he has inside this year, he’s shown that a lot, and that’s been good to see. And then he’s also a kid that has shown to be physical in pass protection.”

-USC offensive coordinator on Graham Harrell on Christon.

USC features a deep receiving group led by Michael Pittman Jr. who should find plenty of open field against a weak Colorado secondary. Pittman Jr. tallied 232 receiving yards against Utah earlier this season, and the senior WR is up to 599 receiving yards on the year. The USC offense needs to take advantage of a poor Colorado offense this week.

The Trojans' defense has been hit with several key injuries. They are missing three of their starting cornerbacks, and safety Talanoa Hufanga is also injured. USC squandered 30 points to Notre Dame but bounced back by holding Arizona to 14 points. USC’s rush defense has been a problem this season, but fortunately for them, the Buffaloes haven’t done a whole lot on the ground. The Trojans are currently averaging 30.7 points, ranking them 55th overall. They are conceding an average of 24 points, positioning them 51st overall.

Some good news on the injury front for the Trojans as defensive backs Olaijah Griffin (back), Greg Johnson (shoulder) and Isaac Taylor-Stuard (ankle) are all expected to suit up against Colorado on Friday, according to Helton on Wednesday. However, freshman defensive back Chris Steele (knee sprain) was injured in practice on Tuesday and is considered quesitonable.

Colorado Routed Again in Third Straight Loss

The Colorado Buffaloes have plummeted to the bottom of the PAC-12 South standings after losing each of their last three games. They do not have the firepower or the defense to compete with the deep PAC-12 this season. The Buffaloes were routed 41-10 at Washington State in their previous game in a matchup that had them labeled as 13.5 point dogs. Steven Montez is struggling in a big way, tossing six interceptions over his last two games. The senior QB has tallied 1723 passing yards with a 10:8 TD to INT ratio on the season.

Colorado’s top rusher Alex Fontenot is coming off one of his best performances of the season, racking up 105 rushing yards on 11 attempts against Washington State last week. The sophomore RB has recorded over 100 rushing yards twice this year, and he has notched 568 rushing yards on the season.

Tony Brown has cooled off, posting only 38 receiving yards over his last two games. The senior WR has made 37 catches for a team-leading 480 receiving yards. The Buffaloes offense is in shambles, scoring only a combined 13 points in their last two games.

The Colorado defense is also vulnerable right now. They have squandered over 40 points in two straight games. The Buffaloes pass defense is especially scuffling, and they are up against a strong USC passing game. Colorado is currently averaging 26.6 points, ranking them 83rd in the country. They are conceding an average of 34.9 points, positioning them 116 overall.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I am siding with USC in this Friday night PAC-12 battle. This is a game USC should win convincingly. Colorado is a struggling team that has been trounced in two straight games, losing 45-3 to Oregon, and 41-10 to Washington State. The Trojans productive passing game should exploit a terrible Colorado pass defense that is surrendering an average of 316 passing yards per game, placing down at 129th in the FBS.

Furthermore, the Trojans' defense should be able to contain a struggling offense. Colorado has only scored a combined 13 points in their last two games, and the USC defense has momentum after holding Arizona to 14 points last week. USC was able to beat a ranked Utah team and a decent Arizona squad in their last two PAC-12 games and I expect a convincing win in this one.

Prediction: USC Trojans

Full-Game Total Pick

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I expect a high-scoring PAC-12 tilt. The Trojans' offense displayed their depth last week. They are averaging a sizzling 280 passing yards per game, and I expect a big game in the air from Slovis against a defense that has squandered an average of 40.3 points in their last three games. Also, the over is 4-1 in Colorado’s last five games after conceding more than 450 total yards in their previous game.

In addition, the Buffaloes should do some damage on their home field against a defense filled with injuries. USC’s top three cornerbacks are dealing with injuries, and Colorado should have success on the ground against a rush defense that is 96th in the FBS. The over is 5-0 in USC’s last five games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game, and that trend should resume in this one.

Prediction: Over

Full-Game Prop Bet

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The over on the USC team total which can be found on PointsBet is a good play as well. USC should be able to replicate their performance from last week. They accumulated 448 total yards and Colorado’s defense is just as bad as Arizona’s. The Buffaloes are surrendering an average of 483 yards per game, placing them down at 124th in the FBS. USC QB Kedon Slovis features a 4:0 TD to INT ratio in his last two games, and I expect another solid performance from him.

Prediction: USC Team Total Over

Half-Time Total Bet

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I am opting with the under on the halftime total. Both teams haven’t done a whole lot offensively in the opening half recently. USC is only averaging nine points in the first half in their last three games, and Colorado is only averaging 12.7 points in the opening half this season, which places them down at 83rd in the FBS. USC is averaging 16.6 points in the second half, and I expect a big final half from the Trojans in this one.

Prediction: Under
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Written By Adam Rauzino

Adam has been a sports fanatic his entire life, closely following hockey, baseball, basketball and football. Adam enjoys analyzing various stats, as well as studying Sabermetrics and analytics to take his picks to a whole new level. Adam has a passion for writing about various sports as well as personal finance and has brought his talents to us here at Winners and Whiners. He graduated with a diploma in business marketing and business finance.