The USC Trojans (5-6) host the #3 overall Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-0) on Saturday night in a battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh. Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM EST at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and the game will be broadcast on ABC.
Taking a look at the Week 13 college football odds, Notre Dame opened as a 8.5-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has moved substantially after early betting, as the Fighting Irish are currently listed at -10.5. The total for the game is sitting at 53.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: USC vs Notre Dame
Notre Dame stayed undefeated last weekend, crushing Syracuse 36-3 at Yankee Stadium to move to 11-0 on the season. The Fighting Irish were dominant on both sides of the ball, racking up over 450 yards of total offense. QB Ian Book played quite well, throwing for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Book has now eclipsed the 2,000 yard passing mark (2,116 yards) while also adding 17 touchdowns in eleven games. He has had a ton of help from the receiving duo of Miles Boykin and Chase Claypool, who have combined for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns. RB Dexter Williams leads the way on the ground, racking up 844 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a whole, the Notre Dame offense is currently averaging 34.6 points per game (27th overall) on 454.9 total yards of offense.
The Fighting Irish have also played quite well on the other side of the ball this season, as they are currently giving up an average of just 17.3 points per game on 321.4 yards of total offense. Notre Dame has been fantastic against the pass, surrendering only 184.3 yards per game through the air (21st overall).
USC dropped back below .500 on the season last weekend, losing 34-27 to UCLA after blowing a six point lead in the second half. Trojans QB J.T. Daniels committed two costly turnovers, throwing a pair of interceptions that the Bruins took advantage of on both occasions. Daniels did play well overall though, throwing for 337 yards and two touchdowns. WR Michael Pittman also had a good game, catching seven passes for 106 yards. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown also looked good, racking up 98 receiving yards and a touchdown. RB Aca’Cedric Ware has been very impressive on the ground, rushing for 757 yards and six touchdowns. Overall, USC is currently averaging 26.9 points per game (83rd overall).
The Trojans have been below average on the other side of the ball this year, giving up an average of 27.3 points per game on 379.9 yards of total offense. They have had an especially tough time against the run, as opponents are currently averaging 168.4 yards per game on the ground (70th overall).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Notre Dame -10.5
I know that a lot is being made of USC having an outside shot at pulling off the upset this weekend since it’s their last chance to get an elusive sixth win and become bowl-eligible. However, it is pretty obvious to me that they blew their chance at continuing their season by losing to UCLA despite being up by a touchdown in the second half. It also doesn’t help that USC is now 0-3 over their last three games after losing to Arizona State and Cal by a combined four points in Weeks 10 and 11. On the other side, the Fighting Irish showed me how good they were last weekend by crushing former #12 overall Syracuse by over 30 points. They also still have everything to play for, as they need a win to lock down a spot in the College Football Playoff.
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Notre Dame is a rock-solid 4-0-1 ATS over their last five road games. They are also 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games overall and 4-2 ATS over their last six games against USC. The Trojans are only 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games and a brutal 6-19-1 ATS over their last 26 games overall.
It is also worth noting that the favorite is a perfect 6-0 ATS over the last six meetings between these two longtime rivals. USC has also had almost no success against non-conference opponents as of late, going 0-7 against the spread. The Trojans don’t have a good enough defense or enough balance on offense to keep pace with a Notre Dame squad that is giving up under 18 points per game on the season. This spread has already increased substantially, but I’m still rolling with the Fighting Irish as long as it stays below two full touchdowns. I’ll take the road favorite to cover the spread while cementing their place in the College Football Playoff.