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Pac-12 Championship: USC vs Stanford Money Line Pick

Stanford(9-3) @ USC Trojans(10-2)

  • Where: Levi's Stadium. Santa Clara, CA (Neutral Site)
  • When: December 1, 2017 8:00 pm EST
  • Spread: USC (-4) vs Stanford (+4)
  • Moneyline: USC (-190) vs Stanford (+165)
  • Over / Under: Over 59 (-110) vs Under 59 (-110)

The 4 coveted spots in the College Football Playoff are sometimes chosen based on which schools are playing their best in November-December and not on how the season began. But if you’ve got 3 losses, you’re out, and that’s what Stanford is coping with right now. That doesn’t change the face that nobody would be glad to play them.

Stanford comes into the Pac-12 Championship Game having won 3 straight impressive games at home. Powerful Washington visited less than a month ago, and had its CFP hopes dashed in a 30-22 result. Then the Cardinal scored a dramatic triumph over California in The Big Game.

Finally, last Saturday the Cardinal exposed Notre Dame and picked-off Brandon Wimbush twice in a 38-20 final. Quarterback K.J. Costello was a model of efficiency, throwing 4 touchdowns on 22 attempts.

Might a talented-but-inconsistent USC roster match Stanford’s intensity? The Trojans have won 4 in a row against mid-level teams in the conference, but before that, they were embarrassed by the same Fighting Irish squad that couldn’t last 4 quarters against Stanford.

USC did whip Stanford soundly way back in early September, which is why Southern Cal is a slight favorite for the showdown.

USC vs Stanford analysis and betting tips

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It’s almost as if USC could fall prey to the defects of its virtues. The Trojans have better athletes when measured man-for-man, 3-deep across the entire program. But the underdogs’ big-time players are peaking – and in the case of their star tailback, may have not peaked yet.

Coaches have been carefully limiting Bryce Love’s carries, but the star junior RB has proved he can handle a big workload. Love is just fine with under 20 attempt – he’ll average 5-10 yards a pop and maybe take one to the house. But Stanford will be fine if he touches the ball around 30 times, as he did in a 263 yard performance against UCLA.

A wager on the favorites is a Trojan horse

The September winners didn’t exactly stop Love last time around. In fact, Stanford’s offense had a pretty good day with Keller Chryst taking snaps. It was Sam Darnold and the Trojan passing attack that took over early and forced the Cardinal into a game of catch-up, putting their great running game on the back-burner.

Will USC do it again? Against Notre Dame, Southern Cal’s own star RB (Ronald Jones II) had major issues getting past the line of scrimmage. Since then, Jones has played better, the line has blocked better and the team isn’t missing its turn too often.

Throw out last weekend’s squeaky win over UCLA…the Cardinal and Gold were looking ahead to Stanford.

Pac-12 Championship – best O/U and Money Line bets

Both teams’ pass rush has flourished at home and leveled-off on the road. No quiet 3rd downs in Santa Clara, so expect 30,000 or 40,000 screaming fans to help create sack opportunities. Both offenses will have to watch the ball at the snap due to the noise and circumstances. That means the under (57.5) is a winning bet.

For the winning pick on the money line, take Stanford in an evenly-matched title game.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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