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USC vs Fresno State Odds, Preview and Prediction

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Football

Sep 16, 2022 · 7:00 AM PDT

USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams hands the ball off to running back Travis Dye
Sep 10, 2022; Stanford, California, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) hands the ball off to running back Travis Dye (26) against the Stanford Cardinal during the first quarter at Stanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
  • USC is a 12.5-point favorite over Fresno State in this Mountain West-Pac-12 game on Saturday
  • The Trojans were 4-7 ATS last season, while Fresno State was 8-5 ATS in 2021
  • Read below for USC vs Fresno State odds, analysis, and betting prediction

USC is a 12.5-point home favorite as the rejuvenated blueblood tries to move to 3-0 against Mountain West favorite Fresno State at the Coliseum in LA on Saturday (September 17th) at 10:30 pm ET on Fox. The Trojans lead the all-time series 4-1, with the Bulldogs winning the first game between the teams 24-7 in 1992.

Meantime, Fresno State was 8-5 ATS) last season and the Bulldogs were 1-0 ATS as underdogs of 12.5 or more points last season.

Let’s analyze the Fresno State vs USC odds and find the best bet for Saturday’s Week 3 game.

Fresno State vs USC Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Fresno State Bulldogs +12.5 (-110) +375 O 74.5 (-110)
USC Trojans -12.5 (-110) -560 U 74.5 (-110)

Odds as of September 14th at Barstool Sportsbook. See the available Barstool Sportsbook promo code. 

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USC is -560 on the moneyline in the college football odds, meaning they have 84.9% implied win probability.

Revitalized Superpower?

No. 7 USC looks every bit the part of a contender for the College Football Playoff two games into the Lincoln Riley Era. The Trojans rolled Rice 66-14 — and using three Pick-6s — in Week 1. Then, Southern California knocked off Stanford — a team that has given the program fits for a generation — 41-28 in Week 2 without needing o punt until the fourth quarter for a second straight week.

Quarterback Caleb Williams went 20-for-27 for 341 yards with four touchdown passes — all in the first half — against the Cardinal. The Oklahoma transfer now has scoring tosses on the season to go with the team’s five rushing touchdowns. His performance earned Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Week. Now, the young star will face off against Jake Haener — who passed for almost 4,100 yards and 33 touchdowns last season and is coming off a 360-yard performance against Oregon State in Week 2 that saw the Beavers score from the 2-yard line as time expired for a 35-32 OSU victory.

If USC’s defense can continue taking the ball away, the favorites should be in good shape. The Trojans have already forced eight turnovers in 2022. Plus, this team will be motivated to play a full four quarters after a lackluster second half against Stanford.

Tedford Knows Troy

Fresno State head coach Jeff Tedford forged a competitive rivalry with USC in the mid-2000s as the head coach of Cal and has produced a 10-win (2017) and 12-win (2018) recently at Fresno State. His reputation for innovative playcalling is well established on the West Coast. And this Bulldog team pulled off an upset in the Southland last year, knocking off UCLA at the Rose Bowl 40-37. Can lightning strike twice?

Fresno State may not have the overall roster talent USC possesses. But what the Bulldogs lack in five-star players, they compensate for in savvy and coaching. Plus, the Trojans’ ball-hawking ways have been impressive — it’s simply not sustainable. To wit, USC has allowed a total of 367 yards rushing so far this season. That sets up well for the underdog Bulldogs, who saw running back Jordan Mims bust of 122 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns against O-State last week. Plus, the Trojans’ defense has been on the field for 142 plays in 2022, ranking 80th in FBS.

On defense, the Bulldogs boast one of the best defensive backs on the West Coast in senior Evan Williams. The safety is coming off a breakout season with a team-high 94 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for a loss and three interceptions. In two games this season he leads the defense with 17 total tackles, a team-high 2.5 tackles for a loss and three passes defended. He’ll be put to the test against Jordan Addison and Co.

Fresno State vs USC Prediction

It’s tempting to go with the over in this spot, but 74.5 is a large number.  USC has been truly impressive thus far and figures to win this one — but can the Trojans cover?

Fresno State always gets up for Southern California, with these teams playing memorable games over the last 20 years (remember Reggie Bush accounting for 513 yards against the Bulldogs in 2005)?  I see the Dawgs taking some chances and playing with house money to keep it close.

The pick: Fresno State +12.5 (-110)

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