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UCLA vs. USC Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Over/Under (November 20)

UCLA vs. USC Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Over/Under (November 20) article feature image

Icon Sportswire/Getty Images. Pictured: Jaxson Dart

  • Updated odds make the UCLA Bruins -3.5 favorites when they take on the USC Trojans on Saturday.
  • The Bruins own nearly advantage on the offensive side of the ball, but things get much less sure on defense.
  • Check out Doug Ziefel's top bet for the game below.

UCLA vs. USC Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
4 p.m. ET
-105o / -115u
USC Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The gridiron leg of the Crosstown Cup is set to commence.

The rivalry between UCLA and USC is long and storied with the first meeting taking place in 1929. This rendition will be the 89th meeting as the Trojans currently lead the all-time series 49-32-7 and won the most recent meeting in 2020 43-38.

This matchup will once again be unique from the ones that came before it as both of these programs have had peaks and valleys this season.

Start with the "Sissy Blue Shirts" who earned that name after they trounced Ed Orgeron and LSU early in the year. That victory had everyone buzzing, and there was even talk of the Bruins making noise in the national title picture.

Though that hype came to a screeching halt as the Bruins then were upset by Fresno State just weeks later. They have since been beaten by the upper echelon of the Conference of Champions and need to finish their season strong.

USC has been a Trojan Horse this season as this team has not lived up to the expectations of what they could have been. The Air Raid scheme of Clay Helton and once highly-touted quarterback Kedon Slovis has faltered. Helton has since been relieved of his duties, and Slovis will be on the sidelines for this matchup.

True freshman quarterback Jaxson Dart will be making his first career start in perhaps the biggest game left for the Trojans. Can he rise to the occasion or will the Victory Bell be heading to the Bruins?

UCLA Bruins

Can Chip Right the Ship?

Much of the early season hype that surrounded the Bruins was due to the fast swarming defense and the flashes of improvement from Dorian Thompson-Robinson. DTR has had a very solid season as a passer, but the only inconsistency is in his accuracy. He is 70th in the country in completion percentage.

Thompson-Robinson has also remained a weapon on the ground as he has topped 60 yards rushing four times this season. His mobility has been key around the goal line as well as he has reached paydirt seven times.

Rushing the ball is the name of the game in Chip Kelly's offense, and Zach Charbonnet has led the way with authority. The junior out of Camarillo, California has picked 5.7 yards per attempt and has feasted against teams that have trouble stopping the run. The Trojans also fit that bill as they rank 81st in Rushing Success Rate allowed and allow 4.7 yards per carry.

This may also be the spot where we see DTR have extended success through the air as the USC secondary has been porous. They are 124th in Passing Success Rate allowed, 105th in Coverage Grade, and 102nd in yards per pass allowed.

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USC Trojans

In Dart We Trust

Jaxson Dart is getting the call this Saturday, and though it is his first start, it is not the first time we have seen him this season. He stepped in earlier this season against Washington State and did what his name portrays: threw darts. The freshman shredded the Cougars for 391 yards while tossing four touchdown passes.

This time around, he's getting advanced notice and is already expecting progression in this matchup. Dart said earlier this week, "All it comes down to is I'm getting more reps now, so I'm able to get a better rhythm and get the feel of the offense a lot better." If he can shred a defense on-call we should expect better things with actual time to prepare.

This will be a good matchup for the freshman, and he will need to exploit it as the Trojans should remain pass-heavy even with him stepping in. This is not the Bruins defense we saw earlier in the year as the numbers show just how far they have fallen off.

The Bruins are 87th in Passing Success Rate allowed, 94th in opponent completion percentage, and 109th in passing yards allowed per game. Dart should also have plenty of time to throw as UCLA only has a Sack Rate of 4.94 percent, which is 101st nationally.

UCLA vs. USC Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UCLA and USC match up statistically:

UCLA Offense vs. USC Defense
Rush Success1281
Line Yards2576
Pass Success51124
Pass Blocking**11456
Big Play48107
Finishing Drives88123
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

USC Offense vs. UCLA Defense
Rush Success77112
Line Yards5531
Pass Success4887
Pass Blocking**68103
Big Play6634
Finishing Drives3553
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling52112
Middle 854121
SP+ Special Teams8143
Plays per Minute3839
Rush Rate60.2% (27)42.4% (123)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

UCLA vs. USC Betting Pick

The market expects this to be a tightly contested contest as the spread separates these programs by only a field goal. Given the edges each offense will have over the opposing defense, I am looking towards the total.

Expect the Bruins to lead the way and potentially score in bunches as they did against Colorado, but Dart and the Trojans will get their fair share of points too. Take the over in a rivalry game that has true shootout potential.

Pick: Over 65.5

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