Southern Cal is one of the hottest teams in the country with seven wins in a row, including a 6-1 run against the spread. Notre Dame, on the other hand, is a bad bet as of late, going 3-6 ATS its last nine times out.
Two teams headed in different directions at the moment meet when the Trojans tangle with the Fighting Irish on Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
Point spread: The Trojans opened as 17-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 41.6-24.2 Trojans (College football picks on every game)
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
Notre Dame suffered another close loss last week, 34-31, at home against Virginia Tech. The Irish led the Hokies 17-0 out of the gate and 31-21 through three quarters, but they gave up the last 13 points of the game in a near-repeat of the loss to Duke back in September.
For the day, Notre Dame outgained Virginia Tech 449-419, outrushed the Hokies 200-152 and won the turnover battle 2-0. It’s almost hard to figure how the Irish lost.
So that’s five times this season the Irish have led in the fourth quarter but lost the game. At 4-7 overall, Notre Dame will treat Saturday’s game in Los Angeles as its bowl for this season.
Why the USC Trojans can cover the spread
Southern Cal continued its roll back toward national prominence, extending its winning streak with a 36-14 decision over rival UCLA last week. The Trojans spotted the Bruins an early 14-7 lead, then scored the last 29 points of the game on their way toward the cover as 13-point favorites.
USC dominated play, outgaining UCLA 527-266, outrushing the Bruins 260-55 and winning time of possession by a lopsided 44-16 split. The Trojans are now 7-1 straight up and 6-2 ATS with freshman Sam Darnold starting at quarterback, averaging 36 points per game.
USC went 7-2 in Pac-12 play, which leaves it a half-game behind first-place Colorado in the Pac-12 South. But the Buffaloes have to play Utah on Saturday, and a Colorado loss gives the division title to the Trojans.
USC is a hot betting property, and the Vegas odds on this game reflect that; they’re the largest for this rivalry in the last eight meetings. Also, Notre Dame’s been playing in some tough luck; all seven of its losses have come by one score or less. Southern Cal will probably win this game outright, but the smart bet is the Irish, plus the points.
Notre Dame is 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven games on the road against Southern Cal.
The total has gone under in Southern Cal’s last seven games.
Notre Dame is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 games in November.
All college football betting lines and point spreads data courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line movement updates and Odds Shark YouTube for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.