Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM

Washington State vs. USC Predictions, Odds

  • December 6, 2020
  • By Jonathan Willis

The USC Trojans were originally scheduled to host the Washington State Cougars on Friday night.

However, the game was pushed back two days to Sunday in order to give the Trojans more time to have players cleared, forced to cancel last week’s game against Colorado due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Cougars are dealing with virus issues of their own, resulting in their last two games being called off.


Washington State-USC Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: USC -13.5
  • Money-Line: USC -450 Washington State +340
  • Total: 66.5

Odds Subject to Change

How to Handicap Washington State vs. USC

The Trojans enter this game as one of three unbeaten teams in the Pac 12. However, USC was extremely fortunate to beat both the Arizona schools. Arizona State led USC 27-14 with under three minutes to play in the season opener.

The Trojans needed to score two 20-plus yard touchdowns on fourth-and-long and recover an onside kick in the final three minutes to nip the Sun Devils 28-27.

USC quarterback Kedon Slovis leads his team to a victory over the Utah Utes earlier this year. (AP Images)

Kedon Slovis needed to lead USC on a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive with 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter to beat Arizona in the Trojans’ second game. It was the second straight week that USC needed a late comeback to pick up a win against an opponent the school was favored to beat by double digits.

The Trojans finally secured an impressive win in their last game, knocking off Utah 33-17 in Salt Lake City as a short road underdog. Washington State started the year with a bang. The Cougars were able to defeat Oregon State 38-28 in Nick Rolovich’s first game on the sidelines.

They were competitive in a 43-29 loss to Oregon the following week, trailing 21-19 at the start of the fourth quarter. We haven’t seen Wazzou since that point. Their games against Stanford and Washington were both cancelled due to virus outbreaks.

Betting Analysis – Washington State Cougars

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • 2020: 1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS, 2-0 O/U

Max Borghi might see action for the first time in 2020. Borghi averaged 6.4 YPC for the Cougars last year, but he missed the team’s first two games due to an undisclosed injury. Deon McIntosh has carried the load in his absence, averaging 7.0 YPC.

Jayden de Laura became the first true freshman to start the season at quarterback in Washington State history. He has followed in the footsteps of other great Hawaiian quarterbacks to immediately flash potential, completing 59.7% of his passes for 7.6 YPA with four touchdowns and an interception. Rolovich made it a priority to bring him to Pullman when he left Hawaii, and that is looking like a shrewd decision.

The top two receivers for Washington State are Renard Bell and Travell Harris. Both Bell and Harris have 16 receptions and over 200 receiving yards, and the only other player with more than two receptions is Jamire Calvin. As always, Washington State’s defense is an issue. The Cougars are allowing 35.5 PPG and 516 YPG, and both Oregon State and Oregon were able to move the ball on the ground and through the air.


Betting Analysis - USC Trojans

  • 2020: 3-0 S/U, 1-2 ATS, 0-3 O/U

Slovis has posted decent numbers through the first three games of his sophomore season. He is completing over 70% of his passes for 7.3 YPA with five touchdowns and two interceptions. However, it feels like his timing is off a little bit.

He has missed some throws in each of his first few games, causing offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s offense to stall at inopportune times. We’ll see if the time off has helped or hindered Slovis on Sunday night.

USC lost a talented receiver to the NFL in Michael Pittman Jr. The Trojans recruit the position almost as well as any other program in the country though, so there hasn’t been a real drop off at wide receiver. Amon-Ra St. Brown is USC’s leading receiver with 19 receptions for 266 yards, and Drake London and Tyler Vaughns have been reliable options for Slovis too.

The ground game has not been reliable. USC is averaging just 4.3 YPC on the season. The Trojans run the ball less often than almost any other team in the country though, so it’s been disappointing to see those results. Markese Stepp and Stephen Carr have been the most effective runners, but they are banged up and might not be on the field against Washington State.

That would leave Vavae Malepeai to carry the load. There were multiple reports that USC’s offensive line was hit hard by COVID over the last two weeks, so this ground game could be even more of an issue. The Trojans are ranked 33rd in defensive SP+ coming into this week. USC is allowing 24.7 PPG and 387.7 YPG, but the run defense has been an issue. The front seven is allowing opponents to run for 5.0 YPC.

Historically Speaking


USC is 59-10-4 against Washington State all-time, but the Cougars have had better luck against the Trojans in recent years. They have won two of the last four meetings, including a 10-7 victory in the LA Coliseum back in 2013. Wazzou was a 21-point underdog in that game.

Last Meeting

The last game between these two Pac 12 foes was a shootout. USC knocked off Washington State 39-36 in a back and forth affair. Gardner Minshew completed 37-of-52 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns in the win, but penalties killed the Cougars’ chances at getting the victory.

Notable Betting Trends

-- Washington State has gone OVER the point total in six of its last seven conference games.

-- USC has failed to cover the spread in six straight games when playing in December.

Washington State-USC Predictions

  • Score Prediction: USC 34 Washington State 28
  • Best Bet:Washington State +13.5

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