Washington State at No. 20 USC Betting Preview

Sunday, December 6, 2020, United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, 7:30 p.m. ET

Cougars at Trojans Betting Preview: Cougars (+14), Trojans (-14)

Washington State Cougars Betting Preview

The Cougars (1-1) could be a bit rusty.

They have had their past two games canceled because of coronavirus concerns, including last week’s Apple Cup rivalry against Washington. Athletic director Pat Chun said then that nine football players were in COVID-19 protocol.

“We talk about how disappointed I’m sure everyone is that there wasn’t an Apple Cup, but you flip it and go straight to USC,” first-year Cougars coach Nick Rolovich said. “Almost becomes like a bonus-bye-week-type deal.”

Under Rolovich, Washington State ranks third in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game (274.0) and seventh in rushing offense (164.5). Preseason all-conference first-team running back Max Borghi has yet to play this season after suffering a back injury in preseason camp.

Quarterback Jayden de Laura has been steady, completing 59.7 percent of his pass attempts for 548 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception. He reportedly was one of the Cougars who tested positive for COVID-19.

The Cougars’ last game was Nov. 14, a 43-29 loss at home to Oregon. Washington State was leading by 12 points late in the first half when the Ducks scored with three seconds remaining before intermission to reclaim the momentum.

“I don’t think they have a lot of fun sitting at home. I think this is a group that likes to be out there playing and competing,” Rolovich said. “I think they like the brand of football (they’re playing). Obviously, we wanted to win (against) Oregon, but just the mindset of playing has taken hold in this group.”

No. 20 USC Trojans Betting Preview

No. 10 USC (3-0) also had an unscheduled bye last week when its home game against Colorado — the only other unbeaten team in the Pac-12’s South Division — was called off.

The Trojans most recently played Nov. 21 at Utah, a 33-17 victory. Kedon Slovis was 24-of-35 passing for 264 yards and two touchdowns, and USC forced five turnovers. 

“We played with a swagger, especially on defense,” said Trojans coach Clay Helton, whose team had to rally late for victories in its first two games against Arizona State and Arizona.

Sunday’s game originally was scheduled to be played Friday night, but USC had four positive COVID-19 cases and seven other players quarantined by contact tracing protocols.

The Trojans finally got back on the practice field Tuesday.

“We feel like we’ve done a good job of shutting this thing down, hopefully,” Helton said. “We’ll see how that progresses through the week, but to have (Monday) for our players with no positive tests, that was awesome.”

The Trojans remained below the conference-mandated minimum of seven scholarship linemen Tuesday, and Helton said they are unlikely to be able to field a full scout team for practice this week.

“We are going to have to be creative,” Helton said. “You’re not going to be able to have enough bodies to have the amount of physical contact you need. It will not be a normal practice week for us.”

USC’s passing game has been balanced, with five different players with 13 or more receptions.

Cougars at Trojans Betting Pick for December 6, 2020

The Trojans have dominated the series to the tune of a 60-10-4 advantage, but the Cougars have managed a split in the last two games. They won 30-27 at Pullman in 2017 but dropped a 39-36 decision in 2018 in the last meeting when the Trojans blocked a potential tying field goal late in the game.

Cougars at Trojans Betting Pick:

Trojans 38, Cougars 17

Cougars at Trojans Best Bet for December 6, 2020

Both teams have had unexpected open dates. The Cougars haven’t played since a 43-29 loss to Oregon on Nov. 14. The Trojans’ last outing was a 33-17 win at Utah on Nov. 21.

Cougars at Trojans Best Bet: UNDER 64.5

–Field Level Media