USC at UCLA Line
The 17th-ranked UCLA Bruins (8-2) host the 18th-ranked USC Trojans (7-3) Saturday afternoon in a Pac-12 South division showdown. Oddsmakers have listed USC as a four-point favorite and have set the total at 65.0.
Why USC Covers
The Trojans have owned their Los Angeles rivals. They have won five in a row and 12 of the last 13 meetings. They have won by an average of 24.6 points during the current five-game winning streak, and each of these wins came by at least 14 points.
USC won last season’s meeting 50-0 while out-gaining the Bruins 572-385. The Trojans won 28-14 the last time they visited UCLA.
USC has covered the spread in each of the last three meetings and is 9-4 against the number in the last 13.
UCLA enters with momentum following a 44-36 victory at Washington State, but it is just 5-11 against the spread in its last 16 games following a victory.
The fact UCLA gave up 457 passing yards to the Cougars is cause for concern. The Bruins rank 106th in the nation in pass defense with 266.4 yards allowed per game, and they will be up against one of the best quarterbacks in the country Saturday.
Led by Matt Barkley, USC ranks 17th in passing offense with 303.6 yards per game. Barkley has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 2,972 yards with 33 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Why UCLA Covers
UCLA has won four in a row behind an explosive offense. The Bruins rank 13th in the country in total offense with 496.9 yards per game and 22nd in scoring offense with 37.7 points per game. These figures are better than the ones USC has put up. The Trojans average 34 yards fewer per game and nearly a point less per contest.
It’s significant that UCLA has scored at least 44 points in each of its last three games as it’s on a 16-3 against the spread run at home after scoring 42 points or more in its last game. It has won by an average score of 38.8 to 19.4 in this situation.
In addition, the Bruins are on a 34-19 against the spread run at home when matched up against a team that has a winning record, a 29-14 against the spread run at home following two or more consecutive victories and a 26-11 against the spread run at home when listed as an underdog.
USC has been a poor investment away from home where it is 0-5 against the spread this season. It is just 3-7 against the number in all games this season.
The Trojans snapped a two-game losing streak with a 38-17 win over Arizona State, but they are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games following a victory and 3-8 against the spread in their last 11 games following a win of more than 20 points. They are even on a 1-4 against the spread slide versus teams that have a winning record.
The Bruins, meanwhile, are on a 4-1 against the spread run versus teams that have a winning record and a 12-3 against the spread run in home games versus teams that have a winning road record.
UCLA has covered the number in six of its last eight home games. Also, the home team have covered the number in seven of the past nine meetings.