Notre Dame vs USC Odds & Predictions: Can Irish Cover Short Spread?

Notre Dame vs USC Odds & Predictions: Can Irish Cover Short Spread? article feature image

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, home of the USC Trojans football team.

Notre Dame vs USC Odds

Saturday, Nov. 26
7:30 p.m. ET
Notre Dame Odds
-105o / -115u
USC Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

One of college football's most historic rivalries composes another compelling chapter on Saturday night in Los Angeles, CA.

USC enters Week 13 firmly in the mix for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Trojans clinched a berth in the Pac-12 Championship game after last week's victory against the UCLA Bruins.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame enters this game as one of the hottest teams in America. After an 0-2 start, the Irish have won eight of their last nine and have improved dramatically on both sides of the ball.

USC has more to play for, but Marcus Freeman's ball club would love to play spoiler and add another victory over a ranked opponent to finish the regular season.

Where does the betting value lie with USC listed as a 5.5-point favorite as of writing?

Let's get into it.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Things could have gone south quickly when Notre Dame dropped its home game to Marshall and fell to 0-2 to start the year. However, Freeman kept plugging away, and the second half of the season has gone much better for the Irish.

Some early inconsistency is to be expected for a first time head coach at a school like Notre Dame, but this team is playing like a top-10 outfit recently.

The Irish have stacked up road wins over ranked North Carolina and Syracuse teams, and it thoroughly dominated No. 8 Clemson for four quarters in South Bend.

Offensively, nothing Notre Dame does really wows you. Quarterback Drew Pyne is relatively limited, but he has done a good job of taking care of the ball in recent weeks.

Audric Estime has emerged as the bell-cow running back, and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees leans on Estime to pick up first downs. The Irish offensive line is playing as well as any group in the country right now, which has enabled Pyne to avoid many third-and-long situations.

When Pyne does drop back to throw, more times than not he is looking for All-American tight end Michael Mayer. Mayer has broken pretty much every receiving record for tight ends at Notre Dame at various points this season.

Last week against USC, UCLA tight end Michael Ezeike found the end zone three times. So, Mayer could be in line for a big day against a vulnerable Trojans secondary.

When USC has the ball, Notre Dame will have its hands full — no doubt.

Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams has a rocket for an arm, and he can pick up first downs with his legs in scrambling situations almost effortlessly.

The Irish should get safety Brandon Joseph back from injury, which is important against a dynamic Trojans passing attack.

One key factor in this game will be whether or not the Irish defense can pressure Williams with its front four. If players like Isaiah Foskey can get home, it will enable defensive coordinator Al Golden to drop more players into coverage and also spy Williams with his linebackers.

On the contrary — if Williams gets time, then he will make Notre Dame pay for it more often than not.

The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

USC Trojans

Southern Cal has gotten off to a fast start in Year 1 under head coach Lincoln Riley. The biggest reason for USC's turnaround success may be attributed to Riley bring star quarterback Caleb Williams with him from Norman, OK to Los Angeles.

The Oklahoma-transfer has been phenomenal all season and is arguably the frontrunner for the Heisman trophy.

The Trojans offense has been potent with Williams at the helm. In last week's road victory over UCLA, USC put up 48 points and 649 yards of total offense.

However, the Notre Dame defense will be a much stiffer test than what the Bruins brought to the table.

The only defense that has been able to give the Trojans any sort of trouble was Oregon State. The Beavers held USC to 17 points — the only game in which USC has failed to score 30 or more points this season.

On the other side of the ball, things aren't quite as pretty.

USC ranks outside the top 100 in both Pass and Rush Success, and several opponents have gashed defensive coordinator Alex Grinch's defense.

Notre Dame doesn't throw it deep down the field often, but the Irish rushing attack is serious cause for concern against a USC front that ranks 92nd in line yards.

Furthermore, USC has been horrible at keeping teams out of the end zone when they do get on the move. The Trojans defense checks in at 118th in Finishing Drives, so the Irish should be able to punch it in when they get down close.

Getting pressure on quarterback Drew Pyne and creating turnovers will be necessary in order for USC to get stops.

Notre Dame vs USC Matchup Analysis

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

Notre Dame Offense vs. USC Defense
Rush Success23124
Line Yards892
Pass Success38101
Pass Blocking**2568
Finishing Drives65118
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

USC Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Rush Success342
Line Yards161
Pass Success98
Pass Blocking**1317
Finishing Drives956
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling144
PFF Coverage4540
SP+ Special Teams23126
Seconds per Play29.0 (114)26.5 (67)
Rush Rate62.3% (13)48.4% (99)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
The ultimate betting cheat code

Best bets for every game

Our model's biggest weekly edges

Profitable data-driven system picks

Notre Dame vs USC Betting Pick

Notre Dame has a great chance of winning this game outright, so I happily pounced on the Irish getting six when this number came out on Monday morning.

This will be the most physical rushing attack that the Trojans have seen all season, and they will struggle to contain it. As a result, the Irish should be able to control clock and keep Caleb Williams & Co. off the field in the process.

Notre Dame hasn't faced a quarterback as good as Williams, but it has faced plenty of dynamic ones — including North Carolina's Drake Maye and Clemson's DJ Uiagalelei — and the Irish defense has held up just fine.

I trust Notre Dame to get some timely stops more than I trust USC.

Give me the Irish to cover the number on the road in what should be a great game Saturday night at the Coliseum. I'll also sprinkle on the Notre Dame moneyline at +170 odds or better.

Pick: Notre Dame +5.5 ⋅ Play to +4

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.