|College Football Betting Preview and Pick - Arizona at (20) USC (Saturday 3:30 ET)
By Matt Fargo
If anyone was able to see Arizona last week against Arizona St., they saw the emotion that the Wildcats came out with. There was talk all week about how the Wildcats would some in soft after tough losses against California and Oregon, the latter taking any shot away from a trip to the Rose Bowl.
However, they came out just the opposite and if not for a momentum shift in the third quarter, the Wildcats would have likely run away with the game. It was a win nonetheless and they can carry that momentum into their final game of the season against USC which will once again have bowl implications.
A bigger bowl means more money and for Arizona, it is one of the few teams that need to rely on this money. Any money made during bowl season gets taken away from what needs to be raised by the staff and boosters and it is a significant chunk.
That is a reason why you do not see this team give up late in the season and last year was a perfect example as was last weekend.
Arizona could finish as high as a second-place tie and as low as sixth place depending on the outcome of this week's Pac-10 games. The dream of the Rose Bowl was gone and the Wildcats could have easily folded, but instead they rose to the occasion and I expect more of the same this coming weekend.
The Trojans got by again last weekend over rival UCLA and you could see the emotion that they put into that game as it got pretty dicey near the end of the game. After a 4-1 start, the Trojans are 4-2 in their last six games but it is a very unimpressive 4-2.
Three of those wins came by a touchdown or less while the two losses were by 27 and 34 points so this is not even close to the USC that we are used to. The Trojans outgained UCLA by only 14 total yards which actually snapped a streak of four straight games where they were actually outgained themselves.
On the season, USC is +49.7 ypg in yardage differential, the first year since 2001 that the differential has been this low when it was outgained on the season. In contrast, the Wildcats are +96.2 ypg in differential and that is with playing a schedule ranked 12th in the nation compared to USC's 10th ranked slate.
The gap has been closing between these two teams. USC has won seven straight games in this series and Arizona lost the first three games after head coach Mike Stoops took over by a combined 111-33. But in 2006 it was just a 17-point game and the last two years have been wins by the Trojans by only seven points.
Clearly those were better USC teams than what is on the field this season so it looks as though we are getting value on Arizona based on the USC name alone.
USC is 0-4 ATS in its last four games following a straight up win and 0-7 ATS in its last seven games after covering the spread.
The Wildcats are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog and they have covered four straight in this series, all as underdogs.
Pick: Arizona Wildcats +7 (-105) available at 5Dimes.com.
Be sure to visit the college football betting forum for more expert picks and betting trends for Saturday.
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