The game of the week in the Pac-12 sees two undefeated foes face off in Corvallis.
USC has set the world on fire in Lincoln Riley’s first three games in SoCal, averaging over 50 points per game. Week 4 brings a tough test against Oregon State, which is looking to be a dark horse in the conference this season.
Which team will keep its perfect record intact? Find out in our college football picks and predictions for USC vs. Oregon State.
USC vs Oregon State best odds
USC vs Oregon State picks and predictions
Saturday’s game between USC and Oregon State should be a terrific game to watch for a few reasons.
First off, it’s a Week 4 meeting between two undefeated teams with high ambitions in the Pac-12 this year. Secondly, it’s a potential revenge game after the Beavers humiliated them 45-27 in Los Angeles last year for their first win in the Coliseum since 1960. Thirdly — and most importantly to this best bet — there could be a firework show between two of the country’s most prolific offenses through three weeks.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first — USC has a very, very dangerous offense. Lincoln Riley essentially assembled an All-Star team via the transfer portal, led by Heisman contender Caleb Williams under center.
Wide receiver Jordan Addison is the clear go-to option in the passing game after winning the 2021 Biletnikoff Award, amassing 295 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Travis Dye, yet another transfer (Oregon), leads the team in rushing with 227 yards and two scores.
This team simply has too much talent to keep out of the end zone, as the field is littered with stars who are both productive and seem to fit Riley’s scheme seamlessly. There have been no bumps in the road so far.
Oregon State’s defense has drawn a lot of praise so far this year, but I still have to see more before believing. They rank 69th nationally with 25.7 points allowed per game and gave up a few chunk plays to Montana State last week before securing three turnovers to turn the game into a rout.
The Beavers rank 85th in Predicted Points Added (PPA) against the pass, so I expect Williams to find success through the air. The defense ranks 62nd in Havoc created and hasn’t been putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which is a problem against this attack.
For as lethal as the offense is, USC still has work to do defensively. They are surrendering 177 rushing yards per game on 4.8 yards per carry despite playing lowly Rice, a Stanford team that hasn’t been able to run the ball in years, and Fresno State.
The Beavers are expected to have one of the best rushing attacks in the Pac-12 yet again this season and should be able to move the ball consistently with Deshaun Fenwick and Damien Martinez. I’m expecting points, points, and more points in this matchup.
My best bet: Over 70.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
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USC vs Oregon State betting preview
It’s fair to wonder how much the revenge angle plays into effect here. On one hand, it was a humiliating loss in every sense of the phrase last year as the Beavers strolled into the Coliseum and laid waste to a pitiful Trojans defense. On the other hand, the roster and coaching staff are basically completely new this season after Riley’s remodeling project this offseason.
The Beavers are no pushover and Jonathan Smith is quietly doing a fantastic coaching job. In 2021, the Beavers finished with a 7-6 record and their first winning season since 2013. They’ve followed that up with a 3-0 start — the program’s best since the 2014 season.
This will be the first time the Trojans are truly tested on the road. Oregon State is 3-2 in home games against USC since 2006, and every one of those wins came over ranked Trojans teams.
The Beavers have played well at home, going 8-1 ATS in their last nine home games. They haven’t fallen flat when facing tough competition, either, going 8-2 in their last 10 against a team with a winning record.
Oregon State makes their hay offensively with a vaunted rushing attack averaging 190 yards per game on 4.9 yards per carry. Fenwick leads the way with 204 yards and three scores, and true freshman Damien Martinez has looked impressive in a complementary role behind him with 108 yards and a score.
The play of Chance Nolan at quarterback has been a big boost to start the season, as he’s completed 62.7% of his passes while averaging a robust 9.9 yards per attempt. The Beavers are averaging 45.7 points per game.
USC has been even better offensively, averaging 50.7 points per game and 520 total yards on 8.0 yards per play. At this point, calling the Trojans an offensive juggernaut does not seem hyperbolic.
USC ranks eighth in success rate nationally. They’ve managed over 500 total yards in each of their first three games and moving the ball isn’t in issue — it’s what happens on the other side of the ball.
The Trojans allowed 441 total yards to Stanford, including 221 rushing yards for a Cardinal team that hasn’t had an effective rushing attack in several seasons. Fresno State mustered just 17 points last week, but the Bulldogs did manage 421 yards and 6.8 yards per play despite playing with a backup quarterback for a large portion of the contest.
USC vs Oregon State betting trend to know
The Over is 6-2 in USC's last eight conference games. Find more NCAA betting trends for USC vs. Oregon State.
USC vs Oregon State game info
• Location: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
• Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
• Kick-off: 9:30 p.m. ET
• TV: Pac-12 Network
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