The USC Trojans head to Berkeley as offshore betting favorites to beat the California Golden Bears for the 14th straight time. The last time that Cal defeated Southern California, Aaron Rodgers was their, the Bears, starting quarterback. Rodgers threw, in only his second career start, for 394 yards, and led Cal to a 34-31 triple overtime win in 2003. It has been all University of Southern California ever since.
- Date: September 23rd
- Time: 3:35 PM
- Venue: California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA
- Sportsbook Odds:
Southern California Trojans -17 (-110) 64½ (-110) -900
California Golden Bears +17 (-110) 64½ (-110) +600
Those darn interceptions
The Trojans would, using, as blueprint, their 45-24 win over Cal last season, easily cover the 17-point spread, as they have done so in seven of their last eight meetings. And, as it turns out, USC’s offense still revolves around quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones, who, respectively, threw for five touchdowns and ran for 223 yards last year against the Bears. There is, though, one teeny, tiny difference, and is the fact that Darnie has thrown, in just three games, six picks, which is, in other words, two thirds of the total interceptions that he threw in the entirety of the 2016 season. That is to say, Darnold is averaging two picks per game, and while none of those interceptions has cost the Trojans a win, they came perilously close against Texas, barely holding off, 27-24, the Longhorns on double OT.
Then again, Cal’s pass defense ranks 126th in the country, which could allow Darn the Marn & Co. to pile up the needed points to cover the offshore betting spread.
“Darn” is not a word Justin Wilcox would use
Cal head coach Justin Wilcox prefers his expletives to be of a more saucy kind, which may or may not be the reason he was, in 2015, fired as USC’s defensive coordinator. While the Trojan’s makeup hasn’t changed much from last season, the Bears have truly gone through a makeover. California finished, in 2016, 5-7 in what would be Sonny Dykes last season as head coach. Clearly, Sonny was no longer one of those Dykes to Watch Out For. In between gigs, Wilcox ran the nation’s fourth-best defense in Wisconsin, and while the Bears’ defense is far from that, it has also improved by leaps and bounds. The offense, meanwhile, has relied on running back Patrick Laird, who averages 7.5 yards per tote. All of which is to say that, while USC may be, Cal is not the same team that lost to the Trojans last season. California has, additionally, pulled upsets against North Carolina (35-30) and Ole Miss (27-16), and have outscored opponents57-13 in the second half, suggesting that they could indeed hang enough with the high-scoring Trojans for the total to go over, an occurrence seldom seen when these two schools play.
— Cal Football (@CalFootball) September 21, 2017
The offshore betting total has gone under 11 of Southern California’s last 13 games versus California, and under in five of Cal’s last six home games when against USC.