Saturday, November 21, 2020, Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah, 10:30 p.m. ET
Trojans at Utes Betting Preview: Trojans (-3), Utes (+3)
USC Trojans Betting Preview
The No. 20 Trojans (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12) have taken the hard route in winning their first two games, scoring late fourth-quarter touchdowns on both occasions for the wins.
Sophomore quarterback Kedon Slovis threw two touchdown passes in the final 2:52 to rally the Trojans from a 13-point hole and post a 28-27 home victory over Arizona State in the opener. Last week, USC got an 8-yard scoring run from senior running back Vavae Malepeai with 25 seconds left to record a 34-30 road win at Arizona.
Coach Clay Helton likes his team’s coolness under fire.
“When it mattered the most, I didn’t see any panic,” Helton said. “They showed great poise. We felt extremely comfortable. It’s what we do in practice each and every week. The guys executed to perfection.”
Slovis completed 71.4 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception in the two wins. The Trojans averaged 527 yards of total offense but the defense has experienced issues while allowing 418 per game.
USC will be aiming to snap a three-game losing streak in Salt Lake City. But one of the challenges is how to prepare for a Utes’ squad that doesn’t have any 2020 video to break down.
“I’m hoping we get the opportunity to have a chance to compete with Utah,” Helton said. “It looks like it’s headed in that direction. Let’s say our prayers and hopefully both teams will stay safe and stay trending toward the same direction.”
Utah Utes Betting Preview
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham just wants opening kickoff to arrive as the Utes attempt to open their season for the third time when they host the Trojans Saturday night.
Utah’s first two attempts were called off due to COVID-19 outbreaks. The school cited 17 confirmed positive COVID-19 tests within the program and another 11 program members in quarantine last Friday when it called off the following day’s game at UCLA.
But Whittingham indicated this week that the situation has improved since the latest cancellation, and he is highly optimistic that the season will get underway against the Trojans.
“Things are trending in the right direction for us as far as getting back to health and getting guys back out on the practice field,” Whittingham said. “Right now, all of our efforts are geared toward getting ready for USC and we will hopefully be kicking off on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN, national television.”
Whittingham is being coy about the Utes’ quarterback situation. He is listing seniors Drew Lisk and Jake Bentley and sophomore Cameron Rising as co-No. 1s on the depth chart.
Bentley started 33 games at South Carolina so he is easily the most experienced of the trio. Rising is a transfer from Texas, and Lisk has thrown nine passes for the Utes.
Utah has known commodities on defense in junior linebacker Devin Lloyd (team-high 91 tackles last season) and junior defensive end Mika Tafua (tied for second in the nation with four fumble recoveries).
Trojans at Utes Betting Pick for November 21, 2020
The Trojans lead the series 12-6 but the Utes have won the last three meetings in Salt Lake City. The Trojans won 30-23 in Los Angeles last year when Matt Fink took over for an injured Slovis and passed for 351 yards and three touchdowns.
Trojans at Utes Betting Pick:
Trojans 30, Utes 17
Trojans at Utes Best Bet for November 21, 2020
The Utes will be playing their first game after their first two scheduled games against Arizona and UCLA were canceled. The Trojans railed for a 28-27 win over Arizona State at home and a 34-30 triumph over Arizona on the road last week.
Trojans at Utes Best Bet: UNDER 58.5