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USC vs BYU Pick & Odds – Trojans 7-4-1 ATS as Away Favorites Under Clay Helton

USC football players celebrate a TD
The USC Trojans are 4.5-point favorites in Week 3 at BYU. Photo by Neon Tommy (flickr) [CC License].
  • USC is favored by 4.5 at BYU in Week 3 (Sat., Sep. 14th)
  • The Trojans are 7-4-1 ATS as away favorites under coach Clay Helton
  • Should you bet on Kedon Slovis and USC to cover the spread?

USC has gotten off to a 2-0 start under coach Clay Helton despite losing their starting QB, JT Daniels, to injury in Week 1.

The Trojans are listed as -4.5 favorites in the USC vs. BYU odds for Week 3 (3:30 PM ET, Sep. 14th).

USC vs. BYU Odds

Team Spread at Bovada* Moneyline Total
USC (#24) -4.5 (-105) -180 O 56.5 (-110)
BYU +4.5 (-115) +160 U 56.5 (-110)

*Odds taken 09/12/19.

USC is 7-4-1 ATS as away favorites under Helton.

Should you bet on freshman QB Kedon Slovis and USC to cover the spread?

USC vs. BYU Matchup

The pressure is on USC to improve this year after they posted a 5-7 record in 2018. The Trojans are 2-0, beating Fresno State 31-23 in their opener before routing Stanford 45-20 in Week 2. True freshman Kedon Slovis has been impressive since taking over mid-way through the Fresno State game. He’s a combined 34-of-41 for 377 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and an elite 82.9 completion percentage.

BYU, meanwhile, hasn’t looked overly impressive through two games. After losing to Utah (again) in the Holy War in Week 1 (30-12), the Cougars rebounded for a 29-26 comeback win at Tennessee in Week 2.

Had QB Zach Wilson not thrown a clutch 64-yard pass to Micah Simon in the dying seconds of regulation (which paved the way for a game-tying field goal), BYU would be off to their first 0-2 start since 1995.

Despite the game being at BYU, history favors the Trojans. USC is 7-4-1 ATS since 2015 when they are listed as away favorites, while the Cougars are 2-4 ATS as home underdogs in that same span. USC has confidence and energy from their 2-0 start and should turn in a strong performance at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Kedon Slovis Has Momentum

I thought the Trojans were in deep trouble when JT Daniels went down in Week 1 against Fresno State. But the 18-year-old Slovis made history for USC in Week 2, setting the school record for passing yards in a freshman’s first start. Slovis went 28-of-33 for 377 yards and three touchdowns against a Stanford defense that is supposed to be decent.

BYU’s Wilson could provide quality competition at the other end of the field. The Cougars’ starting QB  went 19-of-29 for 232 yards in Week 2 against Tennessee. He’s been up-and-down through two games, though, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 440 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions.

Wilson is a sophomore who started seven games last season, while Slovis is a true freshman who didn’t have college experience prior to this season. BYU is going to come hard at the youngster, but  they don’t have the best pass rush, and Slovis showed noticeable improvements from Week 1 to Week 2, which provides confidence for USC backers in Week 3.

Slovis got the ball off quicker against Stanford and looked way more comfortable than he did against Fresno State. He also has the benefit of a strong offensive line that can give him plenty of time with the ball. When he has that time to look through the defense and hit his talented receivers, Slovis has the arm and accuracy to be a force.

While he may face some heavy heat in Week 4 against Utah, BYU has registered just one sack through two games and USC has allowed only two. I don’t see this being the week the freshman gets hit hard and struggles.

Why USC will Win

Even if Slovis doesn’t replicate his incredible Week 2 performance, he only has to be good enough for the Trojans other strengths to prevail. USC has a lethal offense that includes a great group of wide receivers in Michael Pittman Jr, Tyler Vaughns, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. New offensive coordinator Graham Harrell has helped the team put up a healthy 72 points through two games.

BYU simply doesn’t have the horses to matchup with the Trojans. BYU ranked 72nd in passing S&P+ in 2018 and has to go up against a solid USC defense. The Trojans have 13 defensive players that have registered at least 0.5 tackles-for-loss through the first two games, including eight different defensive linemen.

BYU is also outmatched in the run game. USC’s Jay Tufele and Marlon Tuipulotu helped limit Stanford’s rushing attack to 98 yards in Week 2. BYU has allowed 504 yards rushing in two games and won’t be able to contain USC’s ground attack.

Verdict on USC vs. BYU Odds

USC has the better overall talent and  Slovis has momentum after a big win over Stanford in Week 2.

BYU is is 8-28 against Top-25 teams since the year 2000, and they haven’t fared well ATS as home underdogs.

With confidence high after a big win over the Cardinal, Slovis and the Trojans will win this game going away on the strength of their more dynamic offense.

Pick: USC (-4.5)

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