College Football Odds: Fresno State vs. USC prediction, odds, pick – 9/17/2022
The Fresno State Bulldogs take on the USC Trojans. Check out our college football odds series for our Fresno State USC prediction and pick.
The USC Trojans might be the most entertaining team in college football this year. They will score a lot of points, and they will give up a lot of points. It’s true that USC is giving up an average of only 21 points per game: 14 against Rice, 28 against Stanford in Week 2. However, USC allowed Stanford to get inside the Trojans’ 5-yard line on four of its first five offensive possessions last Saturday. USC has managed to get four takeaways in each of its first two games. That large number of takeaways is highly unlikely to persist in future games. At some point, an opponent is likely to not turn the ball over, and when that happens, the quality of the USC defense will be tested to a greater degree.
No one should expect the USC defense to be good, at least not right now. The Trojans are still trying to escape the ditch in which former coach Clay Helton left them. The cupboard on the defensive side of the ball was bare. Players did not develop. USC’s defense got blown out on several occasions in 2021, including a humiliating 62-point collapse against UCLA. New coach Lincoln Riley did try to restock and overhaul the roster through the transfer portal, but his big additions were mostly on offense, especially Caleb Williams and Jordan Addison. The defense did bring in some important pieces, such as Shane Lee from Alabama and Eric Gentry from Arizona State, but whereas the offense can be transformed by one player, a quarterback, a defense isn’t so easily changed by one guy. USC lacks depth, and as Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener — who beat UCLA on the road one year ago — comes to the Los Angeles Coliseum, the Trojans will face a very tough challenge on defense.
Their saving grace: Their offense might be the best in college football.
USC scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions against Stanford. USC’s offense (not the team, but the offense) scored 45 points against Rice. It followed up with 41 against Stanford. Lincoln Riley calling plays for Caleb Williams and an elite group of receivers with above-average running backs and a strong starting offensive line is a complete unit. As long as Williams and the starting offensive linemen remain healthy, USC has all the pieces it needs to dominate with its offense.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Fresno State-USC College Football odds.
College Football Odds: Fresno State-USC Odds
Fresno State Bulldogs: +12.5 (-110)
USC Trojans: -12.5 (-110)
Over: 74.5 (-110)
Under: 74.5 (-110)
Why Fresno State Could Cover the Spread
It’s pretty simple: USC has collected four takeaways in each of its first two games. If Jake Haener and the Fresno State offense protect the ball, they should score a lot of points. They can give up 49 points and still cover if they score 38. They can give up 45 and still cover if they score 35. If Fresno State scores in the mid-30s or higher, it will cover … and it’s very possible it will do that.
Why USC Could Cover the Spread
USC scored 35 points on its first five drives against Stanford, but it didn’t score a single touchdown in the second half. If USC plays good offense for 60 minutes, it will score close to 60 points and cover even if it gives up 35 to 38 points.
Final Fresno State-USC Prediction & Pick
If unsure of the point spread, go with the over. USC’s defense is not particularly strong right now, and USC’s offense is likely to produce a lot of fireworks in this game. USC should score at least 45, Fresno State at least 30 or 31, if not more. Take the over.
Final Fresno State-USC Prediction & Pick: Over 74.5