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Arizona vs USC Betting Odds - USC defense takes advantage of ailing Arizona backfield

Posted by Tony Bryant on 12/1/2009 4:39:25 PM

NCAA Football Odds: Pick USC -7

football line bettingUSC hasn’t been a strong online betting play this year, due to a team that lost a lot of talent to the NFL, as well as a couple of key injuries. The Trojans end their regular season on Saturday at home against Arizona, who have had some injuries of their own on offense, and that will prevent them from ending a seven-year losing streak to the Trojans.

Arizona vs USC Betting Odds: USC -7
WHAT: NCAA football odds
WHEN: Saturday, December 5, 3:30 PM ET
WHERE: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
KEY STAT: Arizona is 1-4 ATS away from home in 2009

Arizona vs USC betting odds breakdown: What’s On The Line
The Pac-10 (and Rose Bowl berth) will be decided in Thursday’s “Civil War” between Oregon State and Oregon, so this is essentially jockeying for better position in the bowls. The Wildcats (7-4, 5-3) bounced back from losses against Cal and Oregon to beat rival Arizona State 20-17 on the road, and are looking to go bowling back to back for the first time since 1997-1998. The Trojans (8-3, 5-3) also defeated a rival, dropping UCLA 28-7, but they won’t make their fifth straight appearance in Pasadena. Instead, the Holiday Bowl will be the reward for a win.

Betting Edge: USC

Arizona vs USC betting odds breakdown: Offense
The Wildcats are 34th in the country in offense, but they managed only 265 yards against the Sun Devils. Nic Grigsby, their leading rusher, missed the game with a shoulder injury and he could miss the USC game as well, which puts a lot of pressure on Nick Foles. The sophomore pivot has had a decent year, and his mission against USC: take care of the ball.

The Trojans are 49th offensively, and they don’t have as much explosiveness as previous USC units. Part of that comes from having a freshman at quarterback in Matt Barkley, and the injury to running back Stafon Johnson also hurt. Joe McKnight has been sporadic in the backfield, and he bruised his thigh against UCLA.

Betting Edge: USC

Arizona vs USC betting odds breakdown: Defense
Arizona’s strength on defense comes against the run, where they are 21st in the country. Linebackers Xavier Kelley and Devin Ross have shown a nose for the ball. The Wildcats are also 16th in sacks, led by 10.5 from Ricky Elmore.

The USC defense lost a slew of NFL-ready talent from last year’s group, and the drop-off has shown as they’re only 43rd in defense this year. They do get to the quarterback as USC is seventh in sacks powered by Everson Griffin and Nick Perry, and safety Taylor Mays is probably headed to the NFL after this year. The Trojans forced four turnovers against the Bruins, but they’ve been known to give up points in bunches.

Betting Edge: Arizona

Arizona vs USC betting odds breakdown: Notable Injuries
Arizona’s running game has been stifled with injuries to Grigsby (shoulder) and Keola Antolin (shoulder), who has been used sparingly.

McKnight (thigh) should be okay to go this weekend, while injuries to tight end Blake Ayles (knee) and David Ausberry (leg) don’t hurt their sportsbook chances that much.

Betting Edge: USC

Arizona vs USC betting breakdown: Outlook and Pick
They say it never rains in Southern California, but the Wildcats beg to differ: they’ve dropped three straight at the Coliseum, and seven in a row overall to USC. This would seem like a great chance for Arizona to break that streak, but if they can’t run against the Trojans, that allows USC to tee off on Foles, who had a big game against Oregon a couple of weeks ago. Arizona has also struggled against the spread on the road with a 1-4 ATS record, while the Trojans are 2-3 ATS at the Coliseum. This, combined with the injuries to Arizona’s backfield, makes USC the smart play.


For more sports betting picks and analysis as we head into bowl season, visit Tony in BetOnline’s The Betting Edge. For more on the Arizona vs USC betting matchup, check out our stats section.



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