California Golden Bears at Southern California Trojans
USC looks to keep its faint Pac-12 South title hopes alive
Thursday when the Trojans host California, which needs one win
in its final three games to become bowl eligible. Outside
linebacker Su’a Cravens is expected to play after giving the
Trojans a scare against Washington State on Nov. 1, when he
left the game with a knee injury. Cravens, who leads USC with
12.5 tackles for loss, has been cleared to face an explosive
Cal team that averages 41.9 points and 361 passing yards.
Both teams took advantage of a week off after the Trojans
routed Washington State 44-17 and the Golden Bears defeated
Oregon State 45-31 two weeks ago. The much-needed break enabled
players such as Cravens and Cal wide receivers Trevor Davis and
Kenny Lawler to recover from injuries, but the news wasn’t as
good for Golden Bears defensive end Brennan Scarlett. The
junior starter had season-ending ACL surgery last week and will
be replaced by freshman Noah Westerfield.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: USC opened as 14.5 point home
favorites and were bet as low as -13.5, before settling back at
-14.5. The total has held steady at the opening number of 72.
INJURY REPORT: California – WR Trevor Davis
(probable Thursday, head), WR Kenny Lawler (probable Thursday,
ankle), DB Avery Sebastian (questionable Thursday, quadricep).
USC – G Jordan Simmons (questionable Thursday, knee), WR Ajene
Harris (questionable Thursday, hamstring), FB Soma Vainuku
(questionable Thursday, hamstring), G Damien Mama (questionable
Thursday, knee), S Su’a Cravens (questionable Thursday, knee).
WEATHER REPORT: It is expected to be overcast
with temperatures in the mid 60’s. There is a slight 20 percent
chance of rain and a gusting eight mile per hour wind blowing
towards the east end zone.
WHAT BOOKS SAY: “A Pac-12 battle Thursday
night between the Trojans, winners of their last 3 out of 4
when hosting the Cal Bears. Both of these teams are pretty much
playing out the year. The Golden Bears are getting 65 percent
of the action as 14.5 point road dogs with the over 72 point
total getting 89 percent of the action.”
Michael Stewart of CarbonSports.ag.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY:
ABOUT CALIFORNIA (5-4, 6-3 ATS, 6-3 O/U):
Jared Goff is fourth in the nation with 3,119 passing yards,
while running back Daniel Lasco continued to impress with a
career-high 188 rushing yards and three touchdowns against
Oregon State. The injuries at wide receiver have created an
opportunity for Stephen Anderson, who leads the team with 509
receiving yards on 34 catches. Linebacker Michael Barton has a
team-high 60 tackles for the struggling defensive unit, which
ranks last in the Pac-12 while yielding nearly 40 points and
526 yards per game.
ABOUT USC (6-3, 6-3 ATS, 4-5 O/U): The Trojans
need to defeat Cal and UCLA and receive some help in order to
win the Pac-12 South, and they’ll start by trying to slow down
the Golden Bears’ offense. Defensive end Leonard Williams has
4.5 sacks to lead a unit that ranks third in the league against
the run. The Trojans average 35 points and boast several
underrated stars on offense, including quarterback Cody Kessler
(25-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio) and Javorius Allen,
who leads the Pac-12 with an average of 125 rushing yards.
* Favorite is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings at USC.
* Under is 8-2 in the last 10 minutes.
* California is 0-5 ATS in the last five meetings.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Just over 52 percent of
wagers are backing the Trojans at -14.5.