Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#153 USC -2.5 vs.
#154 Arizona State 56
Saturday, November 9, 2019 at 3:30pm EST
Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe
Written by Chris Kubala

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#153 University of Southern California
#154 Arizona State University
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It’s a battle of teams from the South Division of the Pac-12 down in the Valley of the Sun. The USC Trojans are on the road as they make the trip to face the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday afternoon. USC was walloped 56-24 at home by #7Oregon in their previous contest last Saturday night. Arizona State was dropped 42-32 by UCLA on the road in their last game on October 26: they are coming in off a bye last week. The Trojans own a 22-13 advantage in the all-time series between the teams but it was the Sun Devils taking a 38-35 road win in the most recent matchup on October 27, 2018.

USC Trojans Hoping to Regroup

USC saw their two-game win streak come to an abrupt halt as they were obliterated at home by Oregon last week. The Trojans dropped to 4-2 in conference play and stand one game behind Utah in the Pac-12 South though they do own the tiebreaker via a head to head victory. USC led 10-0 after the opening quarter but was outscored 28-7 in the second quarter to trail by 11 at the half: they allowed three touchdowns in the final 2:36 of the half. After taking that 10-0 lead, the Trojans gave up 56 of the next 63 points to turn the game into a rout. USC was outgained 405-355 despite having a narrow 31-30 edge in first downs and a 31:13 to 28:47 edge in time of possession. The Trojans turned the ball over four times while forcing just one takeaway: they allowed a pick-six and a kick return for a score.

The Trojans are 23rd in the nation in passing offense with 292.6 yards per game while they rank 92nd in rushing by averaging 140.1 yards per contest. USC is 59th in the FBS in scoring offense with 30.4 points per game while they rank 71st in the country in scoring defense by giving up 28.3 points per contest. JT Daniels was 25 of 34 for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception but is done for the season. Kedon Slovis is 165 of 241 for 1,889 yards with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions: he missed time earlier this season which meant the Trojans were fortunate that Matt Fink (42 of 64, 529 yards, four TD, four INT) stuck around rather than leaving via the transfer portal. Vavae Malepeai leads the team with 87 carries for 406 yards and four touchdowns on the year. Markese Stepp (48 carries, 307 yards, three TD), Stephen Carr (47 carries, 266 yards, two TD) and Kenan Christon (37 carries, 258 yards, two TD) are next in line. Michael Pittman Jr. is tied for the team lead with 58 receptions for 792 yards plus eight touchdowns on the year. Tyler Vaughns (58 grabs, 713 yards, five TD) and Amon-Ra St. Brown (47 catches, 493 yards, four TD) are solid secondary options. Chase McGrath is 35 of 35 on extra points and nine of 10 on field goals with a long of 52 this season.

Arizona State Sun Devils Hope to Even Conference Record

Arizona State is coming off a bye last week: they have dropped two straight after falling to UCLA in their previous contest. The Sun Devils enter this one 2-3 in the Pac-12 and hope to even their conference mark after a pair of duds on the road. Arizona State was tied midway through the first quarter at seven before giving 28 unanswered points to trail 35-7: they didn’t get closer than the final margin with their final score coming with 42 seconds to play. The Sun Devils were outgained 393-383, gave up 27 first downs while picking up 18 and were dominated 38:30 to 21:30 in time of possession. Arizona State forced three turnovers while committing one but took the loss.

The Sun Devils are averaging 237.8 yards per game through the air this season (60th in the nation) while they run for 129.6 yards per contest, which is 106th in the country. Arizona State is 103rd in the FBS in scoring offense with an average of 23.4 points per game and they stand 31st in scoring defense by allowing 21.1 points per contest. Jayden Daniels has hit 135 of 223 passes for 1,902 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions: he has 273 yards and three scores on the ground. Eno Benjamin is the team’s leader on the ground with 153 carries for 679 yards plus seven scores with Isaiah Floyd (11 carries, 47 yards) the next back in line. Brandon Aiyuk leads the team with 38 catches for 740 yards plus five scores. Benjamin (22 receptions, 204 yards, two TD), Kyle Williams (27 catches, 244 yards) and Frank Darby (18 receptions, 320 yards, three TD) are also options in the passing game. Christian Zendejas has hit all 20 extra point attempts and 13 of 17 field goal tries with a long of 43 this season.

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USC was obliterated at home by Oregon in a game that showed the gap between the teams near the top of the Pac-12. Giving up 56 points in less than three quarters of work is a concern for the Trojans’ defense and allowing 21 points in less than three minutes turned the tide of the game completely. Arizona State has struggled offensively a bit this season but they have been solid enough defensively. The problem for the Sun Devils is going to be containing the USC offensive weapons. Herm Edwards may be at home but seeing the team carved up by UCLA on the road is concerning: give USC the upper hand in this contest.

Prediction: USC Trojans +1.5

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This one is going to be a test for both sides. USC has to prove that their defense can bounce back after being sliced and diced by the Oregon offense in their last game. The Trojans have given up less than 20 points only once in their nine games this season. Arizona State comes in off a bye but has dropped two straight and they are 2-3 in Pac-12 play on the season. The Sun Devils started strong, allowing only seven points in each of their first three games but has given up at least 34 points in three of their last five contests. Can either defense rebound in this contest or are we looking at a shootout?

The over is 7-1 in the Trojans' last 8 games after accumulating less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game and 5-1-2 in their last 8 games following a double-digit loss at home. Arizona State has seen the over go 10-3 in their last 13 after a bye week and 9-4 in their last 13 in November. The teams have gone over the total in seven of the last 10 meetings at Arizona State: look for this one to end up over the total thanks to some big offensive numbers on both sides.

Prediction: Over 57
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.