Fresno State (11-2 SU, 5-8 ATS) may no longer have talented quarterback Derek Carr leading them, but the Bulldogs are still looking to build on their fantastic 11-win season while getting some revenge for their 45-20 loss to the Trojans in 2014 Las Vegas Bowl no matter what anyone else thinks. Click here for more college football betting.
The USC Trojans ( 10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS) also had a fine season in winning 10 games despite the fact that they finished third in the Pac-12 South division while trying for the fourth-best record in the conference.
Now both teams will look to get their 2014 seasons off to a positive start – at the other’s expense.
Week 1 Expert Betting Picks feature Fresno State at USC
USC will play its first game under new head coach Steve Sarkisian looking to get a strong performance from quarterback Cody Kessler after watching the now-junior throw for 2,968 yards with 20 TDs and 7 interceptions. The bad news for the Trojans is that they will start two true freshmen along their offensive line this season.
While Fresno State has yet to name its starter for Saturday’s game, head coach Tim DeRuyter says he is confident in both, Brian Burrell Brandon Connette.
Burrell, a junior, has shown great progress this spring and summer and I expect him to start.
"Spring was really my first time trying to take full control of the offense, full control of the team," Burrell said this week. "Derek (Carr) had just left. I knew what my role was as a second-team player. I accepted that. It was a lot different than being the projected starter in the spring.
In addition to playing its area rivals, USC also has to deal with some national publicity surrounding the alleged heroic of senior cornerback Josh Shaw.
Shaw claimed he injured both ankles recently by jumping from a balcony at a family party in order to save his 7-year-old nephew who couldn’t swim. Shaw allegedly landed on concrete from two stories up before dragging himself into the pool to save his family member.
Sarkisian, said he wants more information on the incident but tat it wouldn’t distrait him heading into the new season.
— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) August 27, 2014
"It’s pretty clear there’s quite a few conflicting stories out there," Sarkisian said after the team’s practice on Wednesday. "Any information we’ve been given we’ve pushed along to campus authorities and we’re going to let this play out. We’re kind of in a holding pattern at this point.
"My main focus is on going out and playing a great game," he added. "I have another 104 football players in that locker room I have to prepare to play on Saturday."
Now, I now the Bulldogs are a team n transition, but they’ve also gone 13-6 ATS in their last 19 road games while the USC Trojans have gone 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against non-conference opponents.
Fresno State is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against Pac-12 teams and that doesn’t bode well for the Dogs in this one, but USC is just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against non-conference opponents.
I like the Bulldogs to find a way to keep the final score inside the three-touchdown spread.
— Fresno State FB (@FresnoStateFB) August 27, 2014
In addition to this pick, I also like the Under to play out for O/U Total bettors in this one. The Under is 4- 1 in Fresno State ‘s last five games in the month of August and 5-2-1 in the Bulldogs’ last eight games overall.
The Under is also 3-0- 1 in USC’s last four games against teams from the MWC, 13-3- 1 in the Trojans’ last 17 games against non-conference opponents and a consistent 11-4- 1 in their last 16 games overall.