Stanford and USC will meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game at 5 p.m. PT on Friday, Dec. 1. The game will be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., and the Trojans are a 4-point favorite. Find full odds and our picks on the game below.
USC-Stanford betting odds
USC is a 4-point favorite playing at home according to MyBookie.ag. The over/under of the game is 58 points. USC has moneyline odds of -190 (bet $190 to win $100), while Stanford has moneyline odds of +160 (bet $100 to win $160). The line opened at -3 points early in the week, according to OddsShark, but has since been bet up to the current -4.
USC-Stanford betting odds
USC posted a 42-24 home win over Stanford in Week 2, the Pac-12 opener for both teams. Before that Stanford won three straight in the series including the 2015 Pac-12 Championship Game.
Stanford went 7-2 in league play, with losses at USC and Washington State, while USC’s 8-1 record in Pac-12 action featured only a loss at WSU.
Neither team has been particularly good against the spread this season, with Stanford going 5-6-1 and USC sporting a 3-8-1 mark that includes a cover against the Cardinal.
Both teams come in playing their best. Stanford has won 3 in a row and 8 of 9 and USC on a 4-game win streak.
Pick: USC was a 6-point favorite when they met in Los Angeles in September, but with the game in Stanford’s backyard it makes sense the line is smaller. USC should be able to cover while betting the over is a little riskier since these teams have combined to hit the under in 13 of 24 games.
Pac-12 Championship Game betting preview
The North Division has owned the Pac-12 title game since it was started in 2011, winning all six matchups with the South champion. Three of those winners have been Stanford, most recently in 2015 over USC, while last year Washington blew out Colorado.
But this is the first time the South entrant has had the better record, not to mention nearly across-the-board better numbers on offense. USC averages 34.8 points per game to Stanford’s 32.3, 488.6 yards per game to 394.1 for Stanford and a 292.1-183.7 edge in passing yards. The only place the Cardinal have performed better is on the ground, averaging 210.4 yards per game compared to 196.5 for USC.
Most of that is because of junior Bryce Love, whose 168 rushing yards per game are second-best in the country. Love gains 8.6 yards per carry and an FBS-best 22 runs of 30-plus yards and has rushed for at least 100 yards in all but one game.
USC junior Ronald Jones II is no slouch, rushing for 122.4 yards per game with 16 touchdowns, but he’s accounted for less than 48 percent of the Trojans’ run touches (Love gets nearly 55 percent) as there are other backs who can be turned to when Jones needs a breather.
The Trojans have a significant advantage at quarterback, with redshirt sophomore Sam Darnold throwing for 3,462 yards and 24 TDs (along with 12 interceptions and 6 lost fumbles). Stanford rotated passers much of the season but since settling on redshirt freshman KJ Costello the air attack has been more effective. Last week in a 38-20 win over Notre Dame Costello 14-of-22 for 176 yards and 4 TDs.
Stanford’s defense will need to make big plays to keep the game from getting too high-scoring, and that’s been something it has managed to do most of the season. The Cardinal have allowed 20.7 points per game, second-best in the Pac-12, and don’t give up a lot of yards.
Since 2011 — David Shaw's first season as Stanford head coach — the Cardinal has held 84 of 93 opponents under their season scoring average pic.twitter.com/9yMSoIZngU
— Alan George (@treeSIDjorge) November 29, 2017
Having the league’s best turnover margin (plus-14) helps as well for Stanford.
USC enters the title game having had last week off, its only bye of the season. Stanford played less than a week ago, beating Notre Dame last Saturday. Normally getting the chance to rest up would be a positive, but when it comes to ahead of conference championship games the trend is the opposite.
P5 teams with a bye week before conference title game are 2-7, excluding three times where both teams came in off an open week (K-State/Oklahoma 2003, Florida/Auburn 2000, Alabama/Florida 1999). 1-5 in SEC, 1-2 in Big 12.
— Dan Greenspan (@DanGreenspan) November 28, 2017
This scenario has never existed before in the Pac-12, so it’s hard to say if those numbers will bear out here.
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