USC vs. UCLA Odds & Picks: Bet the Trojans to Stay Undefeated in Saturday Showdown

USC vs. UCLA Odds & Picks: Bet the Trojans to Stay Undefeated in Saturday Showdown article feature image
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Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: The USC Trojans.

  • The Victory Bell is on the line on Saturday as USC battles UCLA in a Pac-12 rivalry matchup.
  • Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis has been especially solid against the blitz season, leaving the Bruin defense to wonder how to attack him.
  • Collin Wilson breaks down the rivalry game and shares a betting pick based on his analysis below.

USC vs. UCLA Odds

USC Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
UCLA Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -125/+104 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 62.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV ABC
Odds as of Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

This will be the 90th meeting of the battle for the Victory Bell, as USC leads the series against UCLA by a 42-32-7 margin.

UCLA has played five games in this shortened Pac-12 season, with its most recent victories over Arizona State and Arizona. The Trojans are undefeated after four games and rank 15th in the latest College Football Playoff standings.

USC Trojans

Clay Helton’s seat may have cooled during the pandemic for one simple reason. His change made at defensive coordinator is paying dividends. The Clancy Pendergast era left the Trojans outside of the top 100 in plenty of categories, but the Todd Orlando era is off to a great start. USC ranks 16th in pass coverage while putting up a serviceable rush defense.

The USC offense had been under a microscope after navigating rough waters through the first two games. After returning to national average levels in Success Rate against Utah, the Trojans soared against Washington State on Sunday night college football.

Kedon Slovis led an attack that had saw seven passes go over 15-yards and a 53% Success Rate on passing plays. The Air Raid offense took a month to get in rhythm, but the results are now sustainable. Slovis finished the Cougars with five touchdowns and hitting nine different receivers during the game.


UCLA Bruins

Through five games, the Bruins have lost two games by a combined nine points. Chip Kelly managed a victory against Arizona without starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The junior returned to action in a victory over Arizona State, throwing for an efficient 75% while accumulating two touchdowns.

The UCLA defensive front has applied pressure to Pac-12 quarterbacks this season, ranking top-15 in the nation. The biggest contributor to the Bruins’ defensive turnaround is Osa Odighizuwa. The senior has produced a team-high nine quarterback hurries and five sacks.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

This spot may feel similar to last season, as UCLA catches USC when the Air Raid is clicking. In 2019, Slovis threw for 515 yards and four touchdowns. The Bruins have improved against the pass this season, a result of bringing in the 4-2-5 scheme with defensive backs coach Brian Norwood.

CLICK THE DROPDOWN ARROW TO VIEW COLLIN’S MATCHUP MATRIX

Odighizuwa and the rest of the UCLA defense should put pressure on Slovis, but the Trojan quarterback has been excellent so far this season. The sophomore has a higher adjusted completion percentage when blitzed versus no blitz. Slovis’ two interceptions on the season came on downs when the defense did not bring pressure.

College fantasy football leagues should take note of USC’s missing rush defense, ranking 115th in defensive rush explosiveness. Thompson-Robinson and the rest of the Bruin offense should break big runs against a Trojan defense that ranks 101st in tackling.

The biggest handicap is UCLA’s ability to stop the USC passing attack. Defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro was torched last season in a different scheme, but the implementation of a 4-2-5 may not help against USC.

Generally, the 3-3-5 scheme is a great formation with eight pass defenders. UCLA will pressure Slovis,  but that’s a situation in which the quarterback has excelled.

Pick: USC -2.5.

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