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December 14, 2017

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Vegas Play of the Day: Texas at USC

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AP Photo/Eric Gay

Texas quarterback Shane Buechele (16) looks to throw during a spring NCAA college football game, Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Austin, Texas.

We’ve entered the fourth season of the annual South Point-lined Play of the Day competition, effective July 1.

Starting bankrolls have reset to $10,000, with the maximum bet being to win $1,000 and the minimum wager $300. Ray Brewer won back-to-back titles in the 2015-2016 and 2016-17 seasons, after Taylor Bern prevailed in 2014-2015.

Texas plus-16 at USC: $440 to win $400

Texas’ embarrassing 51-41 loss to Maryland in week 1 might end up being the best thing to happen to the Longhorns. It appears to have humbled and focused them, prompting a commitment to improvement.

Texas looked much improved last week when it obliterated San Jose State 56-0 as 26.5-point favorites behind five-star freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger. First-year coach Tom Herman now has a choice to make between Ehlinger and Shane Buechele, who’s expected to return from injury.

I’m not sure which is the right choice, but I trust Herman to be able to make it. He’s gotten one of the best jobs in college football by usually making the right choice in such situations — and by producing as an underdog.

Herman was 5-0 straight-up and against the spread at Houston when taking points, one of the craziest betting statistics imaginable. It’s hard to expect Texas to beat USC, but there’s no reason it can’t hang around and keep it closer than 16 points.

If Texas had beaten Maryland and gone into this game 2-0, there would be much more excitement around the program and the line would likely be hovering around 10 points. Instead, no one gives Texas a chance and this game isn’t getting much betting attention.

That’s preferable in securing some betting value, so perhaps the loss wasn’t only the best thing to happen to Texas but also the best thing to happen to those willing to back them in a dangerous spot.

Current Standings: Keefer (8-4-1, $11,685), Granger (6-6, $11,595), Grimala (3-3, $9,995), Brewer (7-8, $8,710)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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