Arizona State faces 20th ranked USC in the season opener for both teams, as two of the best quarterbacks in the PAC-12 take center stage. Jayden Daniels was outstanding for the Sun Devils in 2019, throwing for only two interceptions while racking up nearly 3,000 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, USC’s Kedon Slovis had a better completion percentage at 71.9, threw for more yards (3,502), and touchdowns (30), but did have more of an issue with turnovers, as he threw nine interceptions. Considering how impressive both were as freshmen, they should both take even another step forward this season.
Arizona State Betting Preview
Coach Herm Edwards will get no tune-up game as this matchup will likely determine who wins the PAC-12 South. The offense should still be above average despite the loss of their best two playmakers in wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and running back Eno Benjamin to the NFL.
Not only can Daniels beat you with his arm, but he also ran for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns. The first man up to replace Aiyuk will be Frank Darby, who had 31 catches and eight touchdowns last season.
The running game looks to be by committee to start, as both freshman Chip Trayanum and junior college transfer Rachaad White will split carries. They will be running behind an almost new offense line that returns only one starter.
Defensively, Marvin Lewis, former head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, will take over as coordinator. He is switching the defense to a 4-3 base formation but has plenty of talent to make the switch. Linebackers Merlin Robertson and Darien Butler are the key players on defense.
USC Betting Preview
Slovis, the reigning PAC-12 Freshman of the year, is not the only talented player on the Trojans offense. The wide receiver depth chart is full of NFL-caliber players in Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Vaughans, and tight end Tyler Krommenhoek.
The backfield has plenty of options as well, with speedster Kenan Christon and short-yardage specialist Markese Stepp. USC has four running backs that could all see a share of carries, and in offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s fast-paced passing attack, all of them could be needed.
On the defensive side of the ball, USC pass rush will be the key on Saturday. Can Marlon Tuipulotu and Connor Murphy get pressure on Daniels? If not, Daniels will eventually pick apart the Trojans’ zone defense, and an upset could be brewing Saturday morning.
Sun Devils-Trojans Betting Lines
MyBookie has USC as 10.5-point favorites. The total is set at 56 points. Kickoff is scheduled at noon Eastern.
Free Betting Pick
This total feels way too low. Expect this game will be a shootout with both teams leaning on their talented quarterbacks and up-tempo scheme.
Defenses have struggled in the early matchups due to the odd practice schedules in 2020. This game could easily be in the 70s. If you want to play a side, I like Arizona State to cover.
USC 40, Arizona State 33
Spooky Express Free Pick: Arizona State (+10.5)