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USC vs. Arizona State ATS Picks

NCAAF Week 9 Picks

The USC Trojans now know that there isn't anything left to play for this season. After getting blasted in South Bend last week, their chances of getting into the College Football Playoff are virtually nil.

If there's a silver lining, it's that the Trojans are still sitting at 4-1 in conference play and control their destiny in the Pac-12 South. Unfortunately for them, this week's foes, the Arizona State Sun Devils can say the same.

USC Trojans vs. Arizona State Sun Devils
Date and Time
: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 10:45 p.m. ET
Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Opening College Football Odds: USC -3
USC vs. Arizona State TV Coverage: ESPN

To say that Arizona State has been strange this year would be an understatement. Fans were calling for Todd Graham to be fired after barely beating New Mexico State as a 26.5-point favorite, losing to San Diego State as a 3-point favorite and losing to Texas Tech as a 6.5-point underdog.

Then all of a sudden, the Sun Devils beat Oregon as 14.5-point dogs, covered Stanford as 17-point dogs, beat Washington as 17.5-point dogs and now most recently, knocked off Utah in Salt Lake City as 10-point underdogs in a convincing 30-10 victory.

A defense that averaged allowing 483.6 yards per game in its first five games went up against two teams that are probably amongst the best 25 in America and surrendered 495 total yards between the two affairs.

Will the real Arizona State Sun Devils please stand up?

We think the real USC Trojans stood up last week in South Bend.

USC was trounced by the Fighting Irish 49-14 in a game that featured zero heart from the Men of Troy. This team was lucky to get away with beating Utah two weeks ago and Cal and Stanford back in September. The Trojans' 42-24 win over Stanford from back in Week 2 seems like eons ago, yet that remains as their only cover of the season.

The loss also definitively ended the Heisman Trophy hopes for Sam Darnold. He was picked off again by Notre Dame, and he now has 10 interceptions in just seven games. Darnold is, of course, fighting to become the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, and throwing for just 229 yards and finishing the game against Notre Dame on the bench won't help his draft stock any.

Key Stat

0 – The number of first half points the Sun Devils have allowed in their last two games.

Arizona State had allowed 21.2 points per game in the first halves of their first five games of the season.

The overall stats won't tell you that the Sun Devils have been dominant on the ground, but the key has been shortening games and maintaining drives. Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard are only averaging 4.1 and 3.6 yards per carry respectively, but they have been plugging away over the course of these last couple weeks to set the defense up in some friendlier positions.

Now, Christian Sam and the rest of the "Desert Swarm" are all of a sudden playing at an incredibly high level and have helped out by allowing just a pair of rushing touchdowns in their last nine quarters of play.

USC vs. Arizona State Free Picks

It's hard for all of the best internet sportsbooks to not take notice of the Sun Devils at this point. How can we question them after they beat a Washington team that has looked unbeatable otherwise and just took Utah out behind the shed in its own backyard? Even the win over Oregon came before the Ducks lost Justin Herbert to injury.

Still, we think this line has been depressed too much. The Trojans might not have much to play for, but let's remember that they were beaten by two teams who might be among the best 10 or 15 in America this year. They haven't made games look pretty, but for the most part, they've been able to get the job done.

Expect to see Arizona State revert back to a suspect defense, as Darnold comes up with his best game of the season to lead the Men of Troy back in control of the Pac-12 South.

College Football ATS Pick: USC -3 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: USC 35, Arizona State 20