Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
USC at Colorado
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USC at Colorado
Venue/Location: Folsom Field, Boulder, CO
Time/TV: Friday, Oct. 25 (ESPN2, 9:00 p.m. ET)
Line: USC -13.5, Total 62
2018: USC (-7) 31 vs. Colorado 20, Under 57.5
2017: USC (-14) 38 at Colorado 24, Over 61.5
2016: USC (-5) 21 vs. Colorado 17, Under 62.5
After Friday nights in September were often highlighted by Pac-12 action, this week the conference gets to stand alone in the spotlight as the USC Trojans travel to Colorado to take on a beleaguered Buffaloes team that hopes a return to home soil will return the fight in the squad. Colorado's been outscored 86-10 in their last two games – road losses to Oregon and Washington State – and are catching double digits for the third straight week with USC in town.
There weren't many positives to take from those two defeats if you're Colorado, but the good news is that at home this year they own a 2-2 SU record with the two defeats coming either in OT or by just five points. That suggests that they may actually be able to hang around with this USC team on Friday night – especially if the home field support can be loud, boisterous and prove to be a factor.
The question you've got to ask yourself when breaking down this game is if that indeed will be the case for Colorado in this spot, as situationally there are a few things working in their favor. That number is quite hefty for a Trojans team to cover away from home when it comes down to it.
So after last week's best bets split the board, let's dive into this contest to see if we can find a winner for another edition of “Pac-12 After Dark.”
From a USC perspective, it's hard to look much better then they did last week in their thorough beating of Arizona (41-14) to easily cover the 10 points they were giving up. The final box score in terms of yardage numbers may not suggest the game was as big of a blowout as the final score does – thanks to numerous turnovers from Arizona – but the game was never in question after the first half was finished, and it was a nice way for the Trojans to bounce back after tough losses to Washington and Notre Dame prior.
Yet, it's extremely hard to look that good two weeks in a row if you are the Trojans, especially when you are out on the road again where you are 0-3 SU and 1-2 ATS this year. Road struggles can be the norm when you've got talented young guy(s) starting at QB, and until the Trojans prove they can go out and be as successful as they are at home, laying this kind of chalk is hard to stomach. And that's before we even get into the potential look-ahead angle that the Trojans could be facing here with a home game against Oregon – the highest ranked Pac-12 team – on deck.
Passing on laying the chalk with USC doesn't necessarily mean I'm grabbing the points with Colorado here either.
Sure, Colorado's got the benefit of being at home where they've played much better football all year, could catch a napping USC team looking past them and the like. But the Buffaloes have given up at least 30 points in all seven of their games this year, and that number has risen to 40+ the past two weeks. Even with a double digit underdog, you do want to have some inkling that they could potentially win the game outright, and giving up 30+ every week definitely makes that hard. Situationally, it does make sense to take the points with Colorado, but passing on the side is ultimately where I fall.
Instead, it's that idea that you can pencil in 30+ points for a Colorado opponent that I'm looking to take advantage of with the total, as it's not like USC isn't capable of doing that as it is. USC averages 30.7 points per game on the year already, and barring numerous turnovers themselves, should be able to be the third straight Colorado opponent to at least threaten that 40-point number.
At the same time, USC on the road has given up 30, 28, and 30 points in their three losses, so we should expect Colorado's offense to find success as well. The Buffaloes are a better team at home in the sense that the offense does move the ball, scoring 52, 34, 23, and 30 points in their four home games already this year. That's good for an average of 34.75 points per home game, and while the Trojans are the best team they've faced in this spot, asking them to put up 25+ isn't unreasonable either. I mean, all we've got to see in that case is both teams play to their averages based on the setting – USC on the road, Colorado at home – and this number should get surpassed.
USC's 0-5 O/U run isn't going to last forever, and neither is the 0-2 O/U run for Colorado given that their opponents did all that they were supposed to for 'over' bettors in those two performances. The Buffaloes are 3-1 O/U at home this year as it is, and two of the three 'unders' USC has cashed away from home were a simple FG away from having a different result.
This is a game where those things should find a way to happen, as it was just two years ago that we had a near identical side and total for USC's last trip to Colorado. That game saw the Trojans close as -14 road favorites with a total of 61.5, and the 38-24 final score came about with the two teams combining for more than 1000 yards of total offense. That kind of yardage should be put up again in this year's meeting, as 62 or more points is going to be the final result here.
Best Bet: Over 62
YTD Record: 3-6 ATS