Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 15, 2013 at 8:00 PM
A week ago Thursday, Stanford scored a BCS-shaking upset of Oregon in surprisingly dominant fashion. Even though they lost a game earlier this season at Utah, they’re still in position to make a run at the BCS championship if they can win out while getting some help from the opponents of Alabama, Florida State, and Baylor. On the other hand, the fact that they lost a game earlier this season is a red flag that running the table is far from a sure thing!
In fact…the Cardinal might be ripe for an upset Saturday Night at USC in a game that will be nationally televised in prime time by ABC. Stanford is in a HUGE letdown spot after their second straight shocker over the Quack Attack. And, USC has been playing its best football of the season in recent weeks. You’ll see as we run through the summary of recent games that the stars may be aligning just right for resurgent Trojans.
SUMMARY SINCE END OF SEPTEMBER
Stanford (-9) beat Washington 31-28 (losing yardage 279-489)
Stanford (-9) lost at Utah 27-21 (losing yardage 389-410)
Stanford (-4) beat UCLA 24-10 (winning yardage 419-266)
Stanford (-4) won at Oregon State 20-12 (losing yardage 273-288)
Stanford (+10) beat Oregon 26-20 (winning yardage 377-312)
Those scores capture the Stanford dynamic extremely well. They are a class team, but they have trouble getting scoreboard distance from quality opponents. They were lucky to beat Washington, couldn’t survive a trip to Utah, and played grinders against UCLA and Oregon State before the big win over Oregon. And, that “big” win got dicey in the final minutes because Stanford relaxed with a lead.
And, check out the yardage! Stanford would only have gone 2-3 in those games if wins were based on yardage instead of points. This is a team that will play to the level of its opposition. That makes them a great choice to score upsets when they’re the underdog…but makes them vulnerable to upsets when they’re the favorite.
USC (-6) beat Arizona 38-31 (losing yardage 546-408)
USC (+3) lost at Notre Dame 14-10 (winning yardage 330-295)
USC (-6) beat Utah 19-3 (winning yardage 260-201)
USC (+5) won at Oregon State 31-14 (winning yardage 489-369)
USC (-16) won at California 62-28 (winning yardage 499-483)
Conveniently, cutting things off at the end of September means we exclude the lame duck depression of the Lane Kiffin debacle and pick right up with Ed Orgeron. USC is undefeated in Pac 12 play with their new attitude under their new head coach. The loss at Notre Dame is a legitimate black eye because the Irish haven’t looked very good since then. But, USC was dealing with injuries to key players in that game, as they have been through much of the above stretch. Getting healthy lined up with Oregon State on that grid…and you can see what the offense did in the last two games.
Current Vegas Line: Stanford by 3.5, total of 46
Oddsmakers anticipated that many in the market would try to bet the letdown angle for Stanford. It’s rare for a team so highly regarded in the BCS to be such a cheap favorite against an unranked opponent. Early action came in on the favorite…which was enough to move the line off the key number. Does that mean the sharps like Stanford? NO! It means that the percentage of sharps who like Stanford bet right away on the key number. Sharps who like USC are waiting to see what they can get after the public bets through the course of the day. Many Wise Guys are hoping that “squares” who watched Stanford beat Oregon will drive the line well above the field goal before kickoff.
What’s the right play for YOU in this game? Is the letdown angle priced into the line to such a degree that all value is gone? Well, if you’re sure there’s going to be an upset…you’re still getting a few points! But, you know that battle-tested Stanford isn’t going to lay down. And, you know that the Cardinal are much more experienced in “winning late” when games are close. You’ll note that the brief Orgeron era has no close wins. The Trojans blew a big lead when beating Arizona by 7. They couldn’t score when it mattered in the fourth quarter against Notre Dame.
JIM HURLEY will only put his clients on big TV games when legitimate value is there. Sure, Stanford/USC is a showcase game. But, there are plenty of options on the huge Saturday schedule. NETWORK only plays the games with edges! To find out if this prime time attraction made the cut, purchase our Saturday cut in the morning before kickoff right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
It’s back to the NFL Sunday and Monday in the NOTEBOOK as we run some numbers for you in Green Bay/NY Giants on NBC (Sunday Night) and the much anticipated New England/Carolina game on ESPN (Monday Night).
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