After a rare trip cross-country for a game on the East Coast the USC, Trojans return West to begin their Pac-12 season with a North vs. South showdown against the Stanford Cardinal up on the Farm Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, Fox).
And they do so as eight-point road favorites, according to the mid-week NCAA football odds listings at OddsShark.com.
USC, ranked No. 2 in this week's AP Top 25 poll, started off as a nine-point favorite at many online sportsbooks for this game, but as of Wednesday, most books had dropped the Trojans (-8).
"Part of that is square action on the home side and some opinion that the home team will bite hard as a dog here," said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com. "The fact Stanford is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings also has Southern Cal backers a bit nervous."
The "over/under" on this game at 56 and eight of the past 10 meetings of these Pac-12 foes have played over the total.
Southern Cal (0-2 ATS) opened this season with a 49-10 victory over Hawaii, then jetted to New Jersey and beat Syracuse Saturday 42-29. But the Trojans didn't exactly dominate the Orange. After a scoreless first quarter, USC took a 14-3 lead to halftime.
The Trojans then scored the first touchdown of the second half to take a 21-3 lead, but allowed Syracuse to score twice to get within 21-16 going into the fourth quarter. USC then iced the game with three touchdowns, but couldn't quite cover the point spread as 24-point favorites.
Stanford, meanwhile, started off this season with a harder-than-it-should-have-been 20-17 victory over San Jose State. The Cardinal then looked a little better last Saturday, dumping Duke 50-13.
Stanford scored a touchdown on a punt return one minute into the game vs. the Dukies and later added another score on an interception return on its way toward covering the spread as 16-point favorites.
With the victory Saturday Stanford moved from No. 25 in the AP poll to No. 21.
The Cardinal have won the last three games in the series with the Trojans, and four of the last five, including some classics.
Five years ago, under Coach Jim Harbaugh, Stanford shocked Southern Cal and Coach Pete Carroll as 41-point underdogs. Two years ago, the Cardinal won 37-35 on a field goal at the buzzer; and last year's game went to triple overtime before Stanford prevailed 56-48.
Free Pick: Most of the time, when two ranked teams meet, the higher-ranked of the two makes the cash. So we'll give the points, back the chalk and go with USC. (courtesy of PickShark.com)
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