The defending Pac-12 champion USC Trojans travel to meet the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Sportsbooks have Stanford as a 4.5-point favorite in the latest USC vs. Stanford odds, up from an opener of 3.5 in most markets, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 54.5. The Cardinal are seeking payback after they dropped both meetings last year against the Trojans, including the Pac-12 title game. Before you make your USC vs. Stanford picks, you'll want to listen to what CBS Sports college football expert Tom Fornelli has to say.

A CBS Sports college football writer since 2010, Fornelli is a consistent winner when it comes to against-the-spread picks. He's a wallet-fattening 108-79 in his popular "Pick Six" column the past two years, and his renowned "Twitter Tips" are 105-76 in college football the past three seasons.

Now, Fornelli has studied this matchup from every possible angle and released a strong point-spread pick. He's only sharing his selection over at SportsLine.

Fornelli knows Stanford will be looking to avenge a pair of losses to the Trojans last season. The Cardinal were routed 42-24 at USC in Week 2, then fell 31-28 in the Pac-12 title game.

Stanford already avenged a loss to San Diego State by overcoming a sluggish start to defeat the Aztecs 31-10 last week. The Cardinal overcame some early adversity, which hasn't always been a hallmark under coach David Shaw.

Stanford was effective on offense despite Heisman candidate Bryce Love being limited to 29 rushing yards. It was held to just 50 total rushing yards by a San Diego State defense that was determined to stop the ground game. Quarterback K.J. Costello answered the call by delivering big plays against single coverage. He finished with 332 yards and four touchdowns against one interception.

But just because Stanford's passing offense found its form against San Diego State doesn't mean it can cover the 4.5-point spread.

The Trojans are coming off a bit of an uneven season in their first full year under coach Clay Helton. They survived an early loss to Washington State and several close calls to emerge as Pac-12 champions.

USC's J.T. Daniels won a three-way competition at quarterback and was immediately thrusted into the spotlight that follows USC's quarterback. He appeared poised and made several quality passes in the season opener, finishing with 282 yards and a touchdown. The Trojans used a 24-7 fourth quarter to break open what had been a tight game against the UNLV Rebels. 

One concern for the Trojans might be their defense, which allowed the Rebels to pile up 405 yards of total offense, with 308 coming on the ground. However, the Trojans have been dangerous as a road underdog in conference play. They defeated Washington 26-13 the last time they were in a similar position. 

While we can tell you that Fornelli is leaning under, but he has unearthed a crucial stat that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, over at SportsLine.

So who wins USC-Stanford? And what crucial stat will determine the point-spread winner? Visit SportsLine here to see which side of the spread you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the renowned expert who consistently crushes the books on ATS picks.