Huskies Insider Blog

Pac-12 picks: USC-Stanford, Oregon-Michigan State highlight this week's slate

It was not a sterling start to the season for yours truly, missing three straight-up picks (hello, California) and whiffing on five picks against the spread (thanks, UCLA).

This week's schedule is also littered with double-digit betting lines, as well as a couple of really tough straight-up calls in USC-Stanford and Oregon-Michigan State. Let's get to the picks. As always, all lines are courtesy of VegasInsider.com, and are for entertainment or gambling purposes only. As always, my pick for the Washington game will come in a separate post on Friday.

Season record (and last week): 9-3 straight-up, 3-5 against the spread.

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THURSDAY

Arizona at Texas-San Antonio, 5 p.m., FOX Sports 1 (Arizona -7)

This game might be a little trickier than it appears at first glance for the Wildcats, but Anu Solomon played well enough last week -- against a weak, weak UNLV team, but still -- to believe Arizona should be able to win without going down to the wire. The pick: Arizona 41, UTSA 20.

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FRIDAY

Washington State at Nevada, 7:30 p.m., ESPN (WSU -2.5)

After one game, the Cougars appear to be who we thought they were -- a team with a great passing game and not much defense. At all. This is all of a sudden a pretty huge game for WSU, which saw its bowl hopes take a hit in a season-opening loss to Rutgers. Wolf Pack aren't Kaepernick-good anymore, but QB Cody Fajardo is good enough to give the Cougars trouble. The pick: Nevada 31, WSU 28.

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SATURDAY

Colorado at Massachusetts, 12 p.m., ESPN3 (Colorado -17)

Buffaloes didn't play like an improved team in season-opening loss to Colorado State, but ... they should beat UMass. Emphasis on should. The pick: Colorado 34, UMass 24.

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Fresno State at Utah, 12 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Utah -10.5)

Don't expect the Utes to put up 52 points like USC did last week, but the ultimate result will be the same. The pick: Utah 31, Fresno State 20.

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Sacramento State at California, 12 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (no line)

How about those Golden Bears? Sonny Dkyes' second year got off to an ideal start with a big road win at Northwestern. So don't expect a repeat of last year's too-close-for-comfort game against a Big Sky school. The pick: Cal 45, Sac State 17.

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USC at Stanford, 12:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN3 (Stanford -3)

The first marquee matchup of the Pac-12 season. For one week, Trojans fans will be more concerned with David Shaw than Josh Shaw. Here's a guess USC's offense will be just good enough to beat a Stanford team with a defense that might not quite be there just yet. The pick: USC 35, Stanford 28.

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Michigan State at Oregon, 3:30 p.m., FOX (Oregon -13.5)

This line is likely a reflection of just how strong the perception is of Oregon's offense this season. And for good reason. Stanford has proven in recent years that a physical defense can bottle the Ducks up, and MSU is as tough against the run as anybody. But this still feels like a game the Ducks should win, even if they don't cover. The pick: Oregon 34, Michigan State 21.

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Arizona State at New Mexico, 4 p.m., CBS Sports Network (ASU -26.5)

New Mexico is terrible. The pick: Arizona State 56, New Mexico 10.

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Memphis at UCLA, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (UCLA -25)

Bruins were far from awesome in 28-20 win over Virginia last week. Brett Hundley needs more time to throw. He should get it against the Tigers. The pick: UCLA 41, Memphis 20.

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Oregon State at Hawaii, 7:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network (OSU -12)

Huskies fans hoping this one is close. It shouldn't be, but there might be something to the thought that Hawaii has improved substantially since last season. Sean Mannion could prove otherwise. The pick: OSU 34, Hawaii 21.

Christian Caple can be reached at christian.caple@thenewstribune.com. Twitter: @ChristianCaple

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