USC can continue its march toward a surprising berth in the College Football Playoff with a victory against rival Notre Dame at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday night.
USC (10-1) has won four straight, three by eight points or fewer, and is ranked No. 5 in the nation according to the Associated Press poll. The Trojans rallied from down 14-0 to outlast crosstown rival UCLA 48-45 in a thrilling game at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.
The Fighting Irish are one of the hottest teams in the country and would be a playoff candidate if the expanded field took effect this season. Notre Dame has won five straight games, most recently a convincing 44-0 win over Boston College at home in the snow, and eight of nine after an 0-2 start.
The Irish are up to No. 13 in the nation according to the AP poll, and have jumped two spots in our CFB Power Rankings.
Continue reading for more early predictions, CFB Odds, and betting tips for Notre Dame vs USC.
Notre Dame vs USC Odds
As of Monday at noon ET, USC was a 5.5-point favorite with the Over/Under set at 61.5 points at BetRivers Sportsbook.
Notre Dame vs USC Implied Totals
USC 33.50, Notre Dame 28
The Trojans rank third in the nation with 42.7 points per game and have failed to top 30 points just once (a 17-14 win at Oregon State on Sept. 24). The Irish are averaging 40 points per game over their five-game win streak and are scoring about 32 points per game away from Notre Dame Stadium.
The Irish are allowing only about 20 points per game, which puts them in the top 30 in points allowed. USC is allowing about 26 points per game.
Notre Dame vs USC Pick of the Day
Read more about this Notre Dame vs USC bet below.
Notre Dame vs USC Prediction
USC 45, Notre Dame 31
This is a game featuring two high-octane offenses that are rolling right now. The USC offense has gotten off to slow starts in each of the past two weeks — the Trojans have trailed after the first quarter in three straight games — and at some point, the sluggish openings could come back to bite them.
But the Trojans have found a way to persevere, particularly thanks to the way USC quarterback and budding Heisman favorite Caleb Williams has played. Williams is coming off a 503-yard performance against the Bruins where he threw for 470 yards and two scores and ran for a touchdown as well.
USC lost its lead running back Travis Dye to a season-ending leg injury two weeks ago in a win over Colorado, but senior Austin Jones picked up the slack with 120 rushing yards against UCLA.
A successful running game enables the Trojans to remain balanced, which allows Williams to spread the ball to receivers like Jordan Addison, the reigning Biletnikoff winner who had 11 catches, 178 yards and a TD against UCLA.
Notre Dame’s season was on the verge of falling into the abyss after an 0-2 start that was highlighted by a stunning home loss to Marshall. But the Irish have rebounded in coach Marcus Freeman‘s first season. They’ve already played the role of spoiler once by dealing Clemson its only loss, a 35-14 rout at home.
Notre Dame’s defense may present a challenge the USC offense hasn’t seen since its slugfest win over Oregon State earlier in the season. The Irish defense is allowing just 317 yards per game, the 17th-best mark in the country, and are surrendering the 16th-fewest passing yards per game in the country (186.8).
If it had any other quarterback, USC would be on high upset alert. But Williams’ ability to make plays with his arm and legs, and the volume of weapons at his disposal, should mitigate the Notre Dame defense.
These rivals tend to bring out the best in each other, just as UCLA and USC did at the Rose Bowl last Saturday. Look for USC to win another classic, high-scoring affair and march into the Pac-12 Championship Game with a berth in the CFP on the line.
Notre Dame vs USC Bet Tips
Before you make your CFB Week 13 best bets, consider these Notre Dame vs USC betting trends before placing your wagers:
- Notre Dame has won four straight in the series, including a 24-17 win in its most recent trip to the Coliseum in 2018.
- USC ranks second in the nation in yards per game (513), trailing only Tennessee.
- The Fighting Irish held Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud to 224 all-purpose yards in their only other game against a top-five Heisman Trophy candidate.
Notre Dame vs USC Best Bets
Over 61.5 Points Total Points (-112) at BetRivers Sportsbook
WAGER: 2 Units
The game looks like a shootout given the way these offenses are playing. The Trojans defense has been opportunistic, with a nation-leading plus-21 turnover margin, but USC ranks 105th in passing yards against per game (257.8) and is tied for 68th in points-allowed per game (26.4), which could set up a big day for Irish quarterback Drew Pyne.
USC and UCLA just combined for 93 points at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, and that was with the Trojans failing to score on three of their eight red zone trips, including two missed field goals. The ND defense is tougher than UCLA’s, but the Over should still be a lock.
USC -5.5 (-109) at BetRivers Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Notre Dame’s offense has been predicated on running the ball, averaging more than 190 rushing yards per game. Pyne has been efficient and averaged just 166.2 yards passing yards per game over the Irish’s current win streak, despite the fact ND has put up 35 or more points in each of those games.
Still, the USC defense ranks 68th against the run, which isn’t great, but is much better than its No. 105-ranked pass defense, which sets the Trojans up as a slightly plus-matchup.
The Notre Dame defense ranks 39th in the country in rushing yards allowed per game (130.4). Given Jones’ emergence, and the way Williams runs Lincoln Riley‘s RPO-heavy offense, USC should be able to keep the Irish defense off balance and put up points.
Can Pyne and the Irish offense match Williams score for score? I don’t think so.
Notre Dame vs USC Props
No props were available as of publication time, but we’ll update this space when they’re listed.
Notre Dame vs USC Player Props
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