The Washington State Cougars (4-1, 1-1) travel to LA Memorial Coliseum on Saturday to face off against the No.6 ranked USC Trojans (4-0, 3-0) in one of the best PAC-12 match-ups of the year so far. Can Caleb Williams and the Trojans’ high-powered offense lay two touchdowns against a Cougars team that’s one loss came by three points to Oregon? Let’s take a look at the odds, injury report, and key matchups in order to come to a prediction.
Washington State Vs. USC Betting Odds
The Trojans are -12.5 point favorites over the Cougars this weekend. The over/under is set at 64.5
Washington St Vs. USC Prediction
The USC offense showed back up against the Arizona State Sun Devils last Saturday, but the Trojans defense largely did not. While there were questions about defensive coordinator Alex Grinch’s defense coming into the season, blowout wins in USC’s first three games seemed to alleviate concerns. After a near loss to Oregon St. and a too-close-for-comfort win over Arizona State though, USC has been exposed by a lackluster run defense that has allowed 154.4 rushing yards per game, the fourth-most out in the PAC12. While the Cardinal and Gold defense has secured a whopping 14 turnovers (1st in the PAC12), Grinch’s defense can’t entirely rely on that heading into a crucial stretch of games.
The good news if you’re a USC bettor? Washington State ranks last in the PAC12 in rushing with only 459 yards, even worse than 0-5 Colorado. Ranking fourth – right behind USC – in passing yards however, Washington State is a team that the Trojans cannot afford to ‘sleep’ on, as they are easily the second-toughest team USC has played yet. Wazzu Quarterback Cameron Ward is the best signal-caller the Trojans have faced by far and he will look to keep his momentum, eclipsing 300 passing yards in back-to-back games. Losing 44-41 against Oregon in debilitating fashion two weeks ago, both the Washington State offense and defense showed out against the California Golden Bears last week, defeating them 28-9.
The Trojans have failed to cover the spread in their last two games, moving head coach Lincoln Riley’s ATS record with the team to 3-2. It hasn’t been for a lack of offense however, as QB Caleb Williams is arguably the most prolific passer in CFB and he is surrounded by the most dangerous wide receiver core in the PAC12. Because of Wazzu’s lack of a running game, I expect the USC defense to do just enough for the offense to outscore Washington State’s by more than 14. Take USC to cover and I lean over on the total
Prediction: USC 44 | Washington State 21
- The Trojans are 3-2 ATS with Lincoln Riley as Head Coach
- The Trojans have recorded a take-away every game this season; the Trojans offense hasn’t turned the ball over this season
Washington State Injuries: NA
USC Trojans Injuries: WR Terrell Bynum (Q), OG Justin Dedich (Q), EDGE Romello Height (OUT)
Check out my key matchups and mismatches for Washington St vs USC below.
USC offensive line versus Washington State Defensive Line
The USC offensive line played horrendously against Arizona State last week. Having to scramble around nearly every-play, it became clearer why QB Caleb Williams is one of the betting favorites to win the Heisman trophy (currently 4/1), as he somehow finds his targets despite being chased down every-play. Facing a Wazzu defensive-front that ranks 7th in sacks per game, USC’s offensive line is going to have to play its best in order to keep Williams from getting bang-up. Williams has already been hit more times than the Trojans would like and scheming around this dangerous Washington State defensive front should be priority one for the offense this week.
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