Stanford vs USC +4.5, 58.5
Stanford/USC games have overall been close in recent years, and the underdog has won the last 4 meetings outright. After Stanford won and covered earlier this year as an underdog, the dog is now an amazing 8-1 ATS in the last 9 matchups, and that one ATS loss was a fluke when in 2011, USC was a 7.5-point underdog and wound up losing by 8, in OT.
The public betting is favoring Stanford so far, while the sharper action has come in on USC, but no clear strong sharp action has come in on the spread as yet, but with the total, it's a different story.
Strong sharp action came in on the under early in the week when the total was in the 60s. That action seems counterintuitive, since both teams have powerful offenses that have repeatedly scored in the 30s and 40s this season, and both teams have generally been weaker on defense this year than on offense.
Stanford is 60th in the country in yards allowed per play (5.48), and USC is 79th (5.69), while their respective rankings offensively are significantly better. Stanford is 22nd in the country in offensive yards per play (6.48), and USC is 20th (6.55).
Stanford also gave up 8.5 yards per rush last week against Notre Dame, which is an ominous stat considering that USC has successfully transformed into a power running team in the second half of the season under Clay Helton.
And USC has been particularly banged up and vulnerable in the secondary, which looks on paper like it could be a nightmare matchup against Stanford's deep complement of tall receivers.
Despite all that, the sharp action early in the week taking the under was clear and strong, and caused the total to dip down into the upper 50s.