USC vs. Texas odds, line: 2018 college football picks, predictions from expert on 9-2 run

One of college football's most intriguing Week 3 matchups features the USC Trojans visiting the Texas Longhorns in a nationally televised prime-time game on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET. The Longhorns are 3.5-point favorites, up half a point from the opening line. The over-under for total points scored has seen a slight dip to 47 from an initial offering of 49 in the USC vs. Texas odds. Both high-profile programs are looking for a quality win to help erase a somewhat disappointing start to their seasons. Before you make any USC vs. Texas picks, be sure you see what SportsLine expert Emory Hunt has to say.

A former collegiate running back and the founder and CEO of Football Gameplan, Hunt studies tape from around the nation and is already off to a hot start with his college football picks, entering Saturday on a 6-1 run on his spread selections. Moreover, he has an especially keen sense for the tendencies of these two programs, boasting a 9-2 spread record in games involving either USC or Texas over the past two seasons. Anybody following him is way, way up.

We can tell you Hunt is leaning toward the over, but his much stronger play for USC-Texas is on the side. He has carefully analyzed this matchup and released a confident point-spread pick, which he's only sharing over at SportsLine.

Hunt knows both teams are looking for breakout performances following somewhat uneven starts to their 2018 seasons.

Freshman JT Daniels was given the reins to follow Sam Darnold's footsteps as USC's starting quarterback. He has looked poised and capable, but it didn't come as a huge surprise that he struggled to gain traction against the always-stout Stanford defense. He finished with 215 yards on 16-of-34 passing with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Perhaps the bigger concern for the Trojans was the severely bruised throwing hand Daniels suffered in the first quarter against Stanford. His status was uncertain early in the week, but Daniels went on to practice without any issues and he's expected to be at full strength Saturday. 

Just because USC has gotten off to a slow start doesn't mean it'll fail to stay within the spread.

A 27-24 loss to the Trojans in Los Angeles last year was among a handful of close defeats for the Longhorns in their first year under Tom Herman. Many observers anticipated Texas would take a step forward and possibly contend for the Big 12 title this year, but the Longhorns haven't lived up to that billing yet. They suffered an embarrassing 34-29 loss to Maryland in Week 1 as a two-touchdown favorite, then edged Tulsa 28-21 last week as a 24-point favorite.

Some positives were that quarterback Sam Ehlinger was error-free most of the way, and he led Texas to a decisive scoring drive in the fourth quarter. The dual-threat passed for 237 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He added 51 rushing yards and another score.

Hunt has carefully analyzed every facet of this matchup and identified the critical factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. His pick is only available at SportsLine.

Who wins USC-Texas? And what critical factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you should jump all over Saturday, all from an accomplished analyst who's 9-2 on picks involving these teams. 

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