Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST.
8:30 PM EST. While Stanford pounded Rice 62-7 in the opener, there's nothing that happened in that game that is worth talking about. It was an easy cover for the Cardinal as near 30-point road chalk. Last Saturday on ESPN Gameday, the panel argued about which approach was better, scheduling cupcakes early in the year or going against stiffer competition. For the Cardinal, the former seems to be the way to go if we are to judge the perception of this team through the media. This week on Colin Cowherd's radio show, he needed convincing that Stanford wasn't going to win this game because USC did not look good in the opener. Cowherd went on to say, “Stanford has owned this series, David Shaw is a veteran who wins these games so convince me that Stanford is not going to win this game.” The market carries a similar notion about this contest, which works to our advantage.
For three-quarters last Saturday, the Trojans, darlings of the pundits before the season started, nearly fell right off the horse before they got out of the gate. If you watched any college football last Saturday, the USC/Western Michigan game was featured heavily in the in-game updates, halftime reports and postgame highlight shows. It was an upset alert for most of the game and the talking heads made sure to pound that home. Nobody this week is talking about how the Trojans took over in the fourth quarter and still won by 18-points but that result as a -28-point home favorite has many pundits calling that game a “close call”.
The Cardinal played a very easy game in a sleep walk win while the Trojans were tested by the Mustangs and have already had to face some adversity this season. Stanford takes a big step up in competition here. USC was a popular pick to make the playoffs coming into the season and now they are being written off after just one game. While both teams were large favorites last week, Western Michigan is a program on the rise coming off a great season and that 28-point line was a slap in the face to the Mustangs. We aren't going to fault the Trojans for failing to cover a bad number. Instead, we will take advantage this week. Stanford has won three straight in this series including a 27-10 win at home last season and a 41-22 at the L.A. Coliseum in 2015. With those recent results and the perceived USC struggles, we can see that taking back points with the Cardinal could be appealing but had USC dominated like they were supposed to, this line would have been a touchdown or more. It’s not often that a team with so much hype surrounding them before the season is priced short in Week 2 but that’s precisely the situation here and we’ll try to capitalize on it. Deflated points also equal value.
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#388 USC -6 -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)