NCAAF Week 7 Top Picks for USC Trojans vs. Utah Utes

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Mario Williams #4 of the USC Trojans celebrates a touchdown in the third quarter against the Washington State Cougars. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP.

The classic underdog-Under parlay looks like the right college football pick for Saturday’s tilt between the USC Trojans and Utah Utes.

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USC Trojans vs. Utah Utes

Saturday, October 15, 2022 – 08:00 PM EDT at Rice-Eccles Stadium

2-Team Parlay

Ah, the 2-team parlay. It’s one of the classic old-school plays in sports betting, made even better when you combine the underdog and the Under.

Individually, those two wagers already have generic value versus the betting public; together, they’re greater than the sum of their parts.

But is Saturday’s Pac-12 matchup between the No. 7 USC Trojans and No. 20 Utah Utes the right place for us to unleash this monster?

Yes, yes it is, at least according to our models, which like both the Trojans as 3.5-point road dogs and Under 65 on the college football odds board at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review).


Should I Parlay These Picks?

Right off the bat, we should point out that the synergy between underdog and Under works best when you have a big dog and a small total.

It’s naturally harder for favorites to cover large spreads in lower-scoring games, so if you like both lines anyway, you should combine them to get maximum value for your college football picks.

There’s obviously less synergy in this case. The Trojans are only getting 3.5 points, and this should be a fairly high-scoring game given the 65-point total. But these NCAAF picks still work together to some degree.

It's All About Comfortability

Your decision to parlay or not to parlay may come down instead to how comfortable you are telegraphing your sharpness to the books. As you probably know by now, the “European” model of bookmaking tries to increase profits by placing lower limits on sharp bettors.

You can help avoid those limits by throwing several related bets at a single game, especially if you have your eye on some of those cottony-soft college football props.

Try to package those picks as if you’re merely a USC fan loading up on your favorite team. Also, give more business to top-rated sportsbooks who are still using the “Nevada” method of accepting sharp money to help balance the action on both sides.


Are the Trojans Back in Business?

It feels like we’ve been asking that question ever since Pete Carroll skipped town in 2010 to take the top job with the Seattle Seahawks.

But yes, these Trojans (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) are performing at their highest level since 2008, judging by their plus-18.72 on the Simple Rating System at Sports Reference.

That’s what happens when you sign Lincoln Riley to be your head coach. Riley is coming off five glorious years at Oklahoma, where his Sooners went 55-10 and won four Big 12 titles.

Under his stewardship, the Trojans find themselves at No. 15 overall (No. 9 offense, No. 59 defense) on the F+ Ratings at Football Outsiders, with plenty of room yet to improve.


Can Utah Hang With the Big Boys?

Maybe not. The Utes (4-2 SU and ATS) are perfect this year as double-digit faves, but they lost their season-opener 29-26 to the Florida Gators (+2.5 at home), then dropped last week’s game against the UCLA Bruins (+3.5 at home) by a final score of 42-32.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years now since Kyle Whittingham took the head coaching reins from Urban Meyer. Whittingham helped Utah “graduate” from the Mountain West Conference to the Pac-12, but the Utes haven’t won a major bowl game since making the move in 2011.

This is a tough team, though. They’re also the better team in this matchup, at least according to F+, which has Utah at No. 11 overall (No. 12 offense, No. 27 defense) heading into Week 7.

The Utes are behind USC at plus-13.09 on the Simple Rating System, but at this point in the season, those F+ Ratings have a fair bit more credence.

Should I Take the Extra Half-Point?

However you slice it, getting USC as +3.5 is very important here. Some oddsmakers at press time have the Trojans at +3 on the NCAAF odds board, albeit with less vigorish attached.

For example, you can get them at +3 (+103) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review). Not very long ago, it seemed like you’d always have to pay too much of a premium to get that extra half-point. But there’s only 11 cents difference between this line and +3.5 (–108).

Michael Shackleford at Wizard of Odds has changed the way he calculates these things with NCAAF odds, but in the NFL, that extra half-point is worth 18.1 cents, so go ahead and buy it, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

NCAAF Pick: USC +3.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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USC +3.5 (-108)
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NCAAF Pick: Under 65 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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Under 65 (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.