The University of Southern California can punch a ticket to the College Football Playoff with a victory over rival Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
The fourth-ranked Trojans (11-1) are trying to become the first Pac-12 team to reach the College Football Playoff since Washington in 2017. USC has won five in a row and scored 30-plus points in 11 of its 12 games this season.
Utah (9-3) has won five of six, including a 43-42 victory over USC in Salt Lake City on Oct. 15. The Utes are ranked No. 12 in the nation and can claim their third 10-win season in the past four — with the only non-double-digit win season coming in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Here’s a look at the best bets for Utah vs USC.
Pac-12 Championship Game Odds
As of Monday afternoon, USC comes in as a slight three-point favorite in these CFB odds. The Over/Under between the two high-octane offenses was in the high-60s.
Pac 12 Championship Prediction
USC 41, Utah 31
So much is being made of USC’s offense, and deservedly so. The Trojans rank fifth in the nation — yet somehow fourth in the Pac-12 — in yards per game (506.6) and sixth in the country in passing yards per game (322.6), spearheaded by sophomore quarterback and Heisman Trophy favorite Caleb Williams.
Williams has 34 TDs against three interceptions and has seven rushing scores, including three in the Trojans’ win over Notre Dame.
The Trojans played a near-perfect game offensively against Utah yet were only done in by two punts and Utes quarterback Cameron Rising. Rising had 415 passing yards and 60 rushing yards and accounted for five touchdowns and the game-winning, 15-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and subsequent two-point conversion in the final minute.
Rising leads a Utah offense that ranks 10th in the nation in points per game (39.1) and 20th in the country in YPG (467.7). Rising’s top target is tight end Dalton Kincaid, who had 16 catches, 234 yards, and a touchdown in the first matchup against USC.
Plus, the Utes defense has been stingy, surrendering just 20.1 points per game, the best mark in the conference.
But Utah’s defense was no match for USC in the first game. USC put up 556 total yards, the most of any Utah opponent all season, and Williams had 381 yards passing and five TD throws.
Top receivers Jordan Addison and Mario Williams each had 100-plus yard games, and five different Trojans receivers scored touchdowns.
You’d have to think the Trojans’ offense will do its thing Friday night. Can Rising and Utah’s offense win another shootout against the suspect-yet-opportunistic Trojans’ defense?
USC has allowed the 41st-most yards per game in the country (405.3), yet leads the nation in turnover margin (plus-23).
Expect Utah to put up some points but for USC to outscore the Utes and do enough to claim the conference crown and a playoff berth in their pursuit of the CFP title. (Read our full CFB National Championship odds report.)
Pac-12 Championship Best Bets
Over 67 Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 2 units
There were 85 points scored in the first matchup between these teams, and this one will be played in a climate-controlled dome stadium in Vegas. The USC offense is rolling, with 38-plus points in six straight games.
Utah’s offense is no slouch either, with nine 30-plus point games, including its 63-21 win over Colorado on Saturday.
This Over might be in jeopardy before the fourth quarter, making this an ideal college football pick of the day.
USC -3 (-105) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 unit
USC’s weapons are a problem, even for a defense like Utah’s. Plus, the Trojans have won each of their 11 games by at least three points, which means the only way this won’t hit is if the Utes stun them again.
I can’t see that happening based on how USC’s offense is playing. The Trojans have been extremely balanced of late even with their quick-strike passing attack and after lead back Travis Dye went down for the season with a knee injury.
Senior running back Austin Jones has had consecutive 100-plus yard rushing games against UCLA and Notre Dame.
Utah has a more balanced offense that relies on Rising finding receiver Devaughn Vele and Kincaid, who led the Utes with 850 yards. Still, USC’s defense will undoubtedly adjust to Kincaid and just played against arguably the nation’s top tight end in Michael Mayer of Notre Dame.
Mayer had 98 yards and two touchdowns in USC’s win.
This game should be competitive, but Williams’ playmaking ability and USC’s ability to force turnovers should be the difference. If you think the Trojans will win, expecting them to cover three points, especially at underdog -105 odds, should be no problem.