USC Trojans (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (1-8 SU, 2-7 ATS), (9:00 p.m. EST, College Football Week 10, Friday, November 4, 2011, Folsom Field, Boulder, Colorado, TV: ESPN
by Scotty L, Sports Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: University of Southern California -21.5/COL +21.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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On Friday night, the Trojans of Southern California come to Boulder to take on the Colorado Buffaloes. USC is coming off a hard-fought dramatic triple-overtime loss against unbeaten Stanford. The Buffaloes, meanwhile, are in the midst of a bad run, with 6 straight losses both straight up and against the spread. Can USC use the strong showing vs. Stanford to kick their program into another gear or will the overlooked Buffaloes be able to hang with a potentially tired and unfocused Trojan squad?
Despite losing 56-48 vs. the Cardinal, the game was a form of validation for USC. Saying it signals a return to power might be overstating the case a bit, but it is certainly an effort that should buoy the Trojans through the rest of the season. They play with a hard edge, even if NCAA sanctions will keep them out of the postseason. Its almost like they have a point to make.
QB Matt Barkley took another step forward as USCs field general on Saturday. After accounting for a mere pair of field goals in the first half, Barkley came to life with an assist from RB Curtis McNeal (20-145-2). Two McNeal touchdowns put the Trojans up by 10 in the 3rd, before Stanford came roaring back to take back the lead. This seemed to be a perfect time for USC to fold, but they answered the call, scoring a pair of 4th-quarter touchdowns to push it to overtime before succumbing to superior QB play by Andrew Luck.
The effort was an admirable one for USC, but does all this necessarily make them an attractive betting option this week? As 3-touchdown+ road favorites, they are facing a short week at the worst possible time–following an ultra-draining game on Saturday. Colorado is a woeful 1-8 in a rough inaugural Pac-12 campaign. Then again, that record could work to the benefit of a potential Buffaloes backer, figuring that it could be difficult for USC to be up for this game.
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You will hear all the right things being said by Trojans players and coaches this week, but there are certain things that are out of their control. When youre 18-21 years old and just came close to beating an unbeaten and highly-ranked team in an excruciating epic, its difficult to convince the mind and body to have the same urgency for a 1-8 doormat. With the trip to cold Colorado on a short week, a young man could tend to phone it in.
The problem is that Colorado is becoming less and less of a viable betting option. Anyone going with them recently has truly been frustrated, as they have goose-egged in 6 straight games. Most of those games didnt even give their backers a good sweat, with the results being decided long before the end of the game. They have allowed 45 points or more in 4 straight games. A week two 36-33 loss to Cal was the only time they covered or were competitive with a Pac-12 team this season. In fact, the last time they beat a Pac-12 team was a 2004 win over Washington State.
Searching hard for a silver lining shows Colorado has only taken one beating at home–an ugly 45-2 loss to high-powered Oregon. And the Ducks were not coming off a difficult game on a short week. But the fact that they have only managed to score a combined 9 points in games against Stanford and Oregon, it makes you wonder how they will maintain reach of a potent Trojans offense. In order to cover, theyre going to need to score some points. If the USC D is licking its wounds from Saturday and on its heels, QB Tyler Hansen is a capable quarterback with some decent pass catchers.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: As hard as it may be to believe, this line actually offers about 4 points of value and should be around 17. With that being said, YES, Colorado is bad, but there are some nice angles working for us in this game including a FAT letdown situation for USC after very emotional triple overtime game with Stanford and an overinflated line. This is a prime time game, the books aren’t going to put out a soft line without it being to their advantage. Evidence of this is that almost 75% of the public are hitting USC at the windows and the line hasn’t budged. 21.5 is 4 scores. Don’t be surprised if the final margin on this game lands on 20 with the Buffs taking the money. My bet is on Colorado at +21.5.
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