Utah vs. USC NCAAF Pick – Week 4

The USC Trojans will try and put last week out of their memory bank quickly. USC fell victim to a pesky BYU Cougars team in Provo by a score of 30-27 in overtime. The last play USC executed was a Kedon Slovis interception to end the game. It wasn’t necessarily his fault as the ball was tipped and the BYU defense made a great play on the ball to earn a huge win.

It was tipped, but part of that was on Slovis as well. He didn’t expect to be playing this season. J.T. Daniels’ season is over and the onus fell on freshman Slovis to get the job done. It’s not an easy chore for Slovis. He was expecting to learn behind Daniels, but Slovis is getting thrown into the fire prematurely.

That’s great for the future of USC Football, as Slovis gets valuable experience, but he hasn’t looked ready at this point in his career. I’m not particularly high on Daniels. Sam Darnold to Daniels was a big step down, but Daniels is the best option that the Trojans have on their roster currently.

Slovis has an arm that much has ben determined. However, from what I’ve watched, he looks into his targets way too easily. You can get away with that in high school, and even against bad defenses in college, but it doesn’t work against solid units who have done their homework. Going into camp, Slovis was flirting between the No. 3 and 4 quarterback on the depth chart. Utah likely have done their homework on this USC team.

The Utes go into Friday night in a rare spot as favorites to win the Pac-12. Utah are typically a dark horse in the conference, but as the No. 10 team in the country, there is a target on their backs. Utah are coming off a 31-0 win over Idaho State. They essentially had a bye while USC had to battle against a good BYU team. The Utes’ best win this season came against BYU in Provo in Week 1. That’s something USC struggled to do last week. Head below for our free Utah vs. USC pick.

Utah Utes vs. USC Trojans NCAAF Week 4 Betting Odds:

Spread:

  • Utah -4(-110)
  • USC +4(-110)

Total:

  • Over 53(-110)
  • Under 53(-110)

Betting odds provided by bovada.lv

Utah vs. USC Pick:

BYU proved to be a difficult test for the USC offense last week. Slovis had a tough time reading BYU. He had 2 touchdown passes, but his 3 interceptions were ultimately the difference in the game. The final interception was the dagger for the Trojans. Play like that against Utah this week and forget about overtime, because Utah are going to win the game in regulation. On the season, Slovis has passed for 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, so he’s seen some up and downs.

Utah went into this season as one of the top-rated defenses in the nation, and thus far, they haven’t done anything to suggest that they aren’t one of the best defenses. They are not on a Clemson or Alabama level, but they’re in the next tier of great defenses. Utah enter Friday night 8th in the nation with just 239 yards allowed per game. They’ve been good at defending the pass and run, with 174.3 yards allowed per game through the air and 65 yards per game on the ground.

It’s important to note that Utah aren’t all defense. It’s their anchor and has them as a No. 10 team, but Tyler Huntley is more than capable of putting points up on the board for the Utes. The dual-threat quarterback has thrown for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also rushed for 99 yards on 17 carries with an additional touchdown on the ground. The Trojans’ defense is 86th in the nation with 409 yards allowed per game. Huntley should be able to get his points in this contest. I don’t see the Coliseum being too intimidating on a Friday night.

I think the deciding factor in this game is going to be Slovis against the Utah defense, though. Daniels likely would have made this an interesting game, but Slovis’s ability to read defenses are lacking. Don’t expect much to change in one week for the freshman. Utah have had two light opponents the last week against Northern Illinois and Idaho State. Expect them to be prepared for this game. They’ve likely been studying USC for two weeks now. Look for a 33-23 or 35-24 win in favor of Utah on Friday night.

The Bet
UTAH -4
Kyle E / Author

Kyle is a veteran of The Sports Geek and has spent nearly a decade providing accurate sports picks and writeups here. He has been a sports handicapper for 10+ years and started sharing his picks and thoughts in 2011 at The Sports Geek. His expertise spans across multiple sports, including the NFL, NCAAF, MLB, and the NHL. Prior to writing for The Sports Geek, Kyle was a fantasy football expert, who ultimately parlayed it into a successful sports betting career. You can find his picks daily at The Sports Geek.