This Saturday the USC Trojans will host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. This Week 13 contest will be the final regular season game for both sides. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST at the LA Memorial Coliseum and will be televised on ABC. Oddsmakers have the Trojans as a 17.5-point favorite with the total set at 57.5 points.
Notre Dame vs USC Vegas Odds Preview
The Fighting Irish (4-7) come into this one off a 31-34 home loss to Virginia Tech. It was a crushing defeat for Notre Dame. The Irish jumped out to a 17-0 lead and were up 31-21 going into the 4th quarter.
The Trojans (8-3) continued their red-hot play with a 36-14 blowout win on the road over UCLA. After falling behind 7-14 early, USC scored 29 unanswered to close out the game. That’s now 7 straight wins for the Trojans after their 1-3 start.
Free Betting Pick & Spread Predictions: USC -17.5
My early lean here is on USC minus the points at home. I know this is a lot of points for a rivalry game, but I just can’t back the Irish in this spot. With last week’s loss to Virginia Tech, Notre Dame can’t become bowl eligible. Not that it would have mattered, as the NCAA just laid it on the Irish for infractions from back in 2012.
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Notre Dame had to forfeit 21 wins from the 2012 and 2013 campaigns, plus received a 1-year ban. The players at the program now aren’t responsible. However, they are going to have to deal with all the outside drama with this breaking news. I just don’t see how the Irish will manage to stay focused on the Trojans with absolutely nothing to play for.
Even if Notre Dame was 100% focused on this contest, they still might lose by 20+ points. USC isn’t going to make the playoffs because of their slow start. However, they are playing like one of the 4 best teams in the country right now. In their last two games they beat Washington on the road by 13 and just won at UCLA by 22.
It’s not like the Trojans are going to take it easy on the Irish. In fact, they would love nothing more than to add the misery of Notre Dame. Keep in mind USC is playing with revenge from a 31-41 loss at the Irish last year. It’s also worth pointing out last time they hosted Notre Dame, they cruised to a 49-14 win.
Since Sam Darnold took over at quarterback, this USC offense has been on fire. The Trojans should have a field day here against an Irish defense that has allowed 30+ points in 5 games. It’s not just the offense that’s clicking for USC. The Trojans are 28th in the country in total defense. They haven’t allowed more than 24 points in a single game during the win streak.
It’s also worth pointing out this is a spot where USC has fared well in the past. The Trojans are 17-6 ATS in their last 23 home games off 3 or more wins against conference opponents. Winning in this spot by an average of 22.9 points/game.
There’s also a long-term system in play backing the Trojans. We look for favorites of 10.5 to 21 points off a cover as a double-digit favorite against an opponent off a home game where both teams scored 31 or more points. Teams in this situation are 47-17 (73%) ATS since 1992, with a 15-4 ATS mark over the last 5 years.