The Fresno State Bulldogs won their first 10 games of the season, but missed out on a perfect run in a stunning 62-52 loss to San Jose State on November 29 as 10.5-point home favorites. They bounced back in the Mountain West title game with a 24-17 victory over Utah State as 2.5-point favorites at home and arrive at the Las Vegas Bowl as 5.5-point underdogs to the USC Trojans.
Fresno State (Mountain West, 11-1 SU, 5-7 ATS, 6-6 OU) closed out the regular season with a 4-2 record ATS in its last six games and the total stayed UNDER in five of its last seven contests.
With quarterback Derek Carr pulling the trigger, the Bulldogs will come into this matchup with the No. 1 passing offense in the nation in total yardage. He has thrown for 4,866 yards and 48 touchdowns and the offense as a whole is racking up an average of 409.8 passing yards while scoring 45.3 points a game.
This definitely helped to overshadow a defense that has allowed an average of 29.1 points a game (and an unspeakable 62 against San Jose State). And it has pushed the Las Vegas Bowl odds high for totals bettors, where the number opened at 62 at most books.
It has been an interesting ride for USC this season that saw a mid-season change at the top with the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin. The Trojans (Pac-12, 9-4 SU, 6-7 ATS, 5-8 OU) stumbled out of the blocks to a 4-3 SU start before reeling off five straight victories.
The season hit another low point with a 35-14 loss to UCLA in the season finale as 4.5-point favorites at home (per 5Dimes.eu). Southern Cal did cover in all five games during their winning streak, and the total has stayed UNDER in five of their last seven games.
Consistency on the offensive side of the ball has been an issue all season long. This unit would tear it up one week with 60 points and then struggle to score more than 20 points the next. The most productive aspect was a running game that averaged 174.2 yards a game.
Tre Madden and Javorius Allen combined for 1,402 rushing yards on 246 carries. Allen led the team in touchdowns with 12 while averaging a solid 6.5 yards an attempt. The Trojans' defense had its share of letdowns this season as well, but overall it did hold teams to 21.3 points a game.
Fresno State 1-5 ATS past six bowl games
USC is 7-2 ATS past nine bowl games
FSU was 11-1 SU this season, but just 5-7 ATS
Computer Prediction: 44-35 Fresno State (from Odds Shark computer)
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