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USC vs California Odds - Trojans will rally together after teammate's injury

Posted by Tony Bryant on 9/29/2009 10:20:42 AM
bet on NFLUSC vs California odds feature two great rivals with a lot on the line. USC will be playing an emotionally charged game after suffering some serious injury news about one of its players. Cal, meanwhile, is looking to rebound from an embarrassing road loss last week. Online betting fans should expect an exciting, low-scoring affair.

USC vs California odds: USC -5

  • WHAT: College football odds
  • WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET
  • WHERE: California Memorial Stadium
  • KEY STAT: USC has won five straight against Cal (3-2 ATS)

USC vs California odds maker breakdown: What’s On The Line
The No. 7 Trojans are still recovering from a 16-13 loss to Washington two weeks ago. The defeat put a serious dent in USC's title hopes, and it will have to run the table to keep its chances alive; getting a win over Cal would be a nice start. The No. 24 Golden Bears were cruising until last week's embarrassing 42-3 demolition in Oregon. Still, a win over USC would keep Cal in the running for a Pac-10 title.

USC vs California odds maker breakdown: Offense
The Trojans suffered some truly disturbing news this week when second leading rusher Stephon Johnson was rushed to emergency surgery following a weight lifting accident. Details are sketchy but USC will obviously be without him for the foreseeable future. His loss will be felt more emotionally than anything, though perhaps it will serve as a rallying point. With freshman Matt Barkley at the helm this offense hasn't been as impressive as usual.

Cal's offense was firing on all cylinders before last week's loss, averaging 48 points per contest before scoring just a field goal against Oregon. Javon Best is a series Heisman contender and he's already racked up 467 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, including a five-touchdown effort against Minnesota. Kevin Riley is simply asked not to make mistakes and he's followed through, with zero interceptions so far this season.

Betting Edge: California

USC vs California odds maker breakdown: Defense
As usual, the Trojans employ a nearly air-tight defense. They haven't allowed more than 16 points in a game so far this year, with an average of 10 points per contest. USC leads the nation with 18 sacks, although it's only picked off two passes so far this year. Either way, this is an elite unit.

The Golden Bears "D" was holding its own until last week's debacle. The Ducks racked up 236 yards and a pair of scores on the ground while quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was nearly perfect (21-25 and three touchdowns). Even without Johnson, expect USC to try and run the ball against Cal.

Betting Edge: USC

USC vs California odds maker breakdown: Notable Injuries
Johnson is obviously the most notable injury on USC's side of the table. He'll be missed on the field Saturday and it would be easier to bet horses than gauge where his teammates' heads will be at come Saturday.

Betting Edge: Cal

USC vs California odds maker breakdown: Outlook and Pick
There's no doubting USC is the better football team, but that was also the case against Washington two weeks ago. Adversity is beginning to pile up between that loss and the Johnson scare, giving this team an opportunity to rally around each other. The Trojans can still run the ball and they employ a stifling defense. Look for a fairly low-scoring matchup with USC pulling away late in the game.


Stay on the college football trail, where you'll get in-depth analysis on USC vs California odds and other sportsbook matchups.

Tony Bryant is one of's college football experts.



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