Fresno State vs. USC Odds, Trends, Free Picks

by | Sep 15, 2022 | cfb

Fresno State Bulldogs (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS)

College Football Week 3

Date and Time: Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 10:30PM EDT

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

TV: Fox

Point Spread: FRES +12/USC -12 (Bovada - 50% bonus! BEST live betting platform on the planet! Rebates on ALL your bets! FAST crypto payouts! It’s where we bet!)

Over/Under Total: 71.5

The Fresno State Bulldogs come to the Coliseum on Saturday for a showdown with the USC Trojans. It should be a good night game at the Coliseum, as some of these Mountain West squads have purported themselves better in some Pac-12 showdowns in recent years. Their last game in 2019 was a one-score win for the Trojans. Last season, the Bulldogs beat UCLA and can sometimes spring a little surprise. Nevertheless, it should be a tough matchup for a Fresno team coming far south to face a Southern Cal team that is starting to generate heat with some promising pieces and a fast start under new head coach Lincoln Riley. On Saturday, the Trojans beat Stanford on the road, 41-28. Fresno State, meanwhile, fell to 1-1 on a last-second TD from Oregon State in a real heartbreaker.

Is USC Back?

A lot of pieces are now in place for a USC team that has struggled in recent seasons to reclaim its past dominance. Getting a new head coach with a lot on the ball in Riley, along with a gaggle of players who followed him, like starting QB Caleb Williams, who threw for 341 yards and four TDs on Saturday, really helps. Now, maybe a romp of Rice and a thorough beating of a Stanford team that isn’t great isn’t enough to once again crown the Trojans, it’s still a positive sign to see them do this well through two weeks.

Whereas a thumping in week one didn’t tell us much, we saw more of a pointed example of what we should expect to see from Southern Cal moving ahead this past Saturday against the Cardinal. Williams was deadly accurate, completing big passes to a cavalry of ball-catchers. Transfer Jordan Addison was huge, with burner Mario Williams also getting involved. But that Williams-to-Addison connection looks to be a real monster as they get into the meat of their conference schedule ahead. We also saw another transfer in RB Travis Dye take a larger hand in things and perhaps cement his lead back status with some good runs on Saturday, as he was over 100 yards and a score. And the 41-28 score didn’t really do justice, with Stanford adding a couple perfunctory scores at the end.

As we have seen before when Fresno tried to take a bite out of the Pac-12 is that they can sometimes hang in there in shootouts. And head coach Jeff Tedford, back for his second stint as Bulldogs’ head coach, knows the Pac-12 well as the head coach for Cal for over a decade and a former assistant at Oregon. But what would really allow the Trojans to thrive in these kinds of matchups against dangerous opponents like Fresno is a defense that isn’t exploitable like what we’ve seen in recent seasons. Despite capable-looking enough showings against Rice and Stanford, this looks to be a real test to see how far the USC “D” lags behind the other side of the ball. One would be within their rights to suspect that it might be the weak point of the team. Even so, they’ve already shown a bit of a big-play element this season.

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Why the Bulldogs are Dangerous

We’ve seen at times in the last few years where they can really explode offensively even in heightened contexts such as these. While Fresno’s season-opening win over Cal-Poly didn’t show much, we saw how much fight the Bulldogs have in them, as QB Jake Haener fought the whole way in a rousing 360-yard performance where everyone involved was clutch late on offense. Nikko Remigio has led a talented ball-catching crew and strangely has had exactly 100 yards in both of the first two games. Difference-making back Jordan Mims has four TDs through two games. His 122 yards and three catches on Saturday help propelled them to what really should have been a win against Oregon State.

You would almost think there’d be some inherent value in a team like Fresno that has shown they can hang. Sure, USC at home could be out of reach and if so, we’re going to see a thorough beating applied here. That very well could be. But with USC, you’re paying for the brand name in a sense—not just USC, but also Lincoln Riley and all the shiny new pieces he lured into town to be part of the Southern Cal renaissance. I’d expect the Bulldogs to have a chip on their shoulder if nothing else. Sure, their defense let them down on Saturday in the end, but they have a little more wiggle-room here in a betting sense and remain a plucky underdog to be sure.

Take the Points

This isn’t an indictment on USC. And it really wouldn’t register much on the overall surprise-meter if they thumped the Bulldogs at home with a new-look team that is in fact a bit scary. And falling in last-second fashion like they did against the Beavers at home doesn’t bode well against a multi-faceted Southern Cal offense on the road. I just sense that Fresno will be able to be loose for this game and flex their considerable talent on offense to enough of an extent to keep this one from getting too out of hand. I’ll take a whirl on Fresno State.

Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Fresno State Bulldogs plus 12 points. Get a 125% real cash bonus up to $400 when you use bonus code PREDICTEM at GTBets Sportsbook! They’ll also give you a free half point everytime you bet your favorite college and pro teams!