USC Hosts Stanford in Early Season Pac-12 ShowdownBy David A.
The marquee matchup in Week 2 of college football is Oklahoma and Ohio State but a Pac-12 showdown in southern California at L.A. Memorial Coliseum between the USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal is attracting the attention of many sports bettors.
USC is 5.5-point chalk in the game. The Trojans opened the season with a 49-31 win over Western Michigan but did not look that impressive against an opponent of must less talent. The game was close until the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.
Stanford was idle last week after opening its season early with a 62-7 rout of Rice down under in Australia.
Stanford has defeated USC in the last three head to head matchups, including twice during 2015. However, USC as chalk of 6 points or less is 5-1 against the spread versus Pac-12 opponents.
However, not all bettors are that confident in the Trojans, especially following their lackluster win last weekend. On several sportsbooks 80% or more of the moneyline bets are on Stanford, with close to that same number taking +5.5 and the Cardinal versus the spread.
However, USC will be at home, have the better team on both sides of the ball and a top Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback in Sam Darnold.
Even though most fans will look at this matchup as an offensive showdown between the passing game of USC and the running attack of Stanford, the game could be won on defense.
Stanford is known for its strong defense but although the defense will be strong again, it will not be as strong as in previous years, as there has been no one to take the place of Solomon Thomas the talented defensive end who is now in the NFL.
Although the linebackers and secondary are strong for Stanford, the front line will be thin and with USC meeting the Cardinal in Week 2, the not yet up to full speed defense of Stanford will be a liability and the deciding factor in this game.
The Trojans may have looked sluggish to start the season, but their offensive power as displayed in their Rose Bowl win over Penn State will lead them to a win and cover in this game.