USC at Oregon State
October 31, 2013
By Brian Edwards
With their hopes of getting to the Pac-12 Championship Game at stake, Oregon State and Southern Cal will collide Friday night in Corvallis. As of early Thursday afternoon, most betting shops had the Beavers favored by four with a total of 52.5.
Gamblers can take USC (5-3 straight up, 3-5 against the spread) on the money line for a +170 return (risk $100 to win $170). For first-half wagers, Oregon State (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) is favored by three (with a -120 price tag) with a total of 26.5.
Mike Riley's squad saw its six-game winning streak snapped last Saturday night in a 20-12 home loss to Stanford as a four-point underdog. Sean Mannion's fourth-and-goal pass to Kevin Cummings from the seven was broken up in the final seconds.
USC forced four turnovers and didn't commit any in last week's 19-3 win over Utah as a five-point home favorite. Andre Heidari buried four field goals and Cody Kessler threw for 230 yards and one touchdown to pace the Trojans.
In the win over Utah, USC played without 2012 All-American WR Marquise Lee due to a knee injury. However, Lee has been upgraded to 'probable' at OSU and that's great news for a Trojans' offense that is averaging only 24.6 points per game.
Kessler has had an up-and-down campaign to date. The third-year sophomore has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,560 yards with a 9/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Nelson Agholor has hauled in 30 receptions for a team-high 539 yards and three TDs.
Lee has missed two games and parts of two others, so that's obviously played a tremendous role in his lack of production. And the quality of USC's quarterback play has also been down in 2013. But still, we're talking about a guy that had 11 TD catches as a true freshman and 14 TD grabs last season. Lee has 32 receptions for 403 yards this year, but he has only been in the end zone once.
Tre Madden has rushed for a team-high 671 yards. He has three rushing scores and a 5.3 yards-per-carry average. Justin Davis had run for 361 yards and six TDs with a 6.8 YPC average, but he had to have ankle surgery last week that'll keep him out for the rest of the season.
Silas Redd, the team's leading rusher in 2012 who missed the first five games this year, has only rushed for 192 yards. Redd, the transfer from Penn State, didn't gain a yard in 10 totes vs. Utah.
Oregon State has been one-dimensional on offense all year, but that hasn't been a bad thing. Mannion leads the nation in passing yards (3,263) and TD passes (30) while only being intercepted three times. The junior signal caller has completed 69.1 percent of his throws.
Mannion has one of the country's top WRs in junior Brandin Cooks, who is tops in America in receiving yards (1,256). Cooks has 85 catches and 13 TD grabs, in addition to a pair of rushing scores.
Mannion might be without three of his popular targets against USC. Senior WR Kevin Cummings was lost for the season when he injured his wrist in the final minute against Stanford. Cummings had made 23 receptions for 254 yards and two TDs.
Also, two Oregon State tight ends are 'questionable.' Connor Hamlett, the starter with 23 catches for 198 yards and four TDs this year, missed the loss to Stanford with a knee injury. Caleb Smith (17 receptions for 229 yards and three TDs) might not be able to go this week due to back spasms.
Gamblers should also check the status of OSU junior LB D.J. Alexander, who left last week's game with a shoulder injury and is considered a question mark.
USC's defense is dealing with injuries galore. The Trojans have been without their best pass rusher Morgan Breslin for more than a month. Breslin, who had 13 sacks in 2012, remains out with a hip pointer. Starting CB Anthony Brown (arm) is out this week, while starting LB Lamar Dawson suffered a season-ending injury at practice last week. Finally, reserve safety Gerald Bowman is also out at OSU.
The 'under' is 6-2 overall for USC, 2-1 in its three road assignments. The Trojans' eight games have averaged 43.9 combined points per game.
On the flip side, the 'over' has cashed at a 5-3 overall clip for the Beavers, going 2-2 in their four outings at home. They have seen an average combined score of 67.5 PPG.
These Pac-12 adversaries haven't faced each other since 2010 when Oregon State trounced the Trojans by a 36-7 count as a three-point home underdog. The Beavers have covered the number in five of the last six head-to-head meetings and they have taken the cash in five consecutive games against USC in Corvallis. The Trojans haven't won at OSU since 2004. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
**B.E.'s Bonus Nuggets**
--Virginia will be trying to snap a five-game losing streak when it hosts Clemson this weekend. The Cavaliers are 3-7-1 ATS as home underdogs on Mike London's watch. The Tigers are 8-7 ATS as road favorites under Dabo Swinney.
--Temple has covered the number in four consecutive games, while Rutgers is an abysmal 1-4 ATS when favored this season. The Scarlet Knights, who lost 49-14 at home to Houston last week, are favored by 13.5 over the Owls at home.
--Northwestern star RB and special-teams dynamo Venric Mark remains 'out' for the Wildcats, as they travel to Lincoln to face an angry Nebraska squad on Saturday.
--Iowa is 9-3-1 ATS as a home underdog in its last 13 such spots going back to 2007. The Hawkeyes are catching 9.5 points Saturday vs. Wisconsin.
--Florida OT D.J. Humphries will be out for the next 2-4 weeks with a sprained MCL. The Gators are already without their other starting OT Chaz Green, who went down with a season-ending injury in September. UF might get Ronald Powell back against UGA. 'Ro-Po' was upgraded to 'probable' yesterday, but he was also 'probable' at Missouri two weeks ago and didn't even dress out.
--As for Georgia, it will get RB Todd Gurley and safety Tray Matthews back vs. UF. There's a chance one of Aaron Murray's top weapons, WR Michael Bennett, could also return. Bennett is still listed as 'questionable' with a knee injury sustained in a 34-31 overtime win at Tennessee on Oct. 5.
--The 'over' is a perfect 7-0 for Florida State The only other perfect team in terms of totals going into last week was Troy. However, the 'under' appeared for the first time in the Trojans' win over Western Ky.
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