Notre Dame-USC Betting Guide: Irish Poised to Keep Rolling
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ian Book and Amon-Ra St. Brown
Notre Dame at USC Betting Odds, Pick
- Odds: Notre Dame -11
- Over/Under: 54
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
>> All odds as of Friday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets
While the stakes have always remained the same — Notre Dame playing for a College Football Playoff berth in Week 13 against USC — this game has lost some luster with pretty much every passing week.
The Trojans are in an absolute tailspin, while the Fighting Irish keep rolling against a schedule that hasn’t quite lived up to expectations.
Are the Irish poised to finish unbeaten? Or do the Trojans have one last quality effort in them?
Odds Movement for Notre Dame-USC
After opening at -8, Notre Dame is now an 11-point favorite thanks to 90% of bets and 97% of dollars. That support makes the Irish by far the most popular bet on Saturday’s slate of games.
As for the total, it’s inched up a point behind 72% of bets and 97% of dollars.
Helton Struggles as an Underdog
Clay Helton is the anti-Tom Herman.
The USC coach is 1-10 against the spread as an underdog with the Trojans. This season, he’s 0-3 and hasn’t come within 13 points of the opposition.
USC has allowed at least 37 points in seven of those 11 games.
Notre Dame Taking Care of Business Under Book
Football Outsiders/SB Nation has a wonderful metric called post-game win expectancy that takes the boxscore of a game and spits out a win probability based only on performance, and if each team had an equal amount of luck. It gives you a great indication of which teams got lucky in a given game, and which deserved to win.
Quarterback Ian Book has started seven games, and the Irish have had a post-game win expectancy of at least 94% in all of them. The schedule hasn’t been a gauntlet, but the Irish have really taken care of business. Outside of Pitt — which the Irish still had a 94% win expectancy in — there really weren’t any close calls.
Book ranks 10th nationally in yards per attempt and second in completion percentage. With him under center, the Irish offense is averaging 6.5 yards per play compared to 5.53 with incumbent starter Brandon Wimbush. That’s the difference between Ohio State and Duke’s offenses.
Expect More of Last Week
It’s safe to say the buzzards are circling Helton at USC.
After a loss to crosstown rival UCLA, plenty of Trojan faithful feel that the rest of the Pac-12 South could pass the Trojans over the next few years with Helton at the helm.
Notre Dame had no issues putting away Syracuse at Yankee Stadium during Week 12. Only a fourth quarter field goal kept the Orange from getting shutout. The Irish almost doubled Syracuse’s total yards thanks to three interceptions.
The advanced stats aren’t pretty for USC in this matchup: The Trojans are outside the top 100 in turnover margin, penalty yards and total first downs. The Irish defense is ranked third in S&P+, specifically 20th in defensive line havoc rate, and will cause major problems for true freshman JT Daniels.
There will be eight days between this game and when the selection committee makes its decision, and I expect Notre Dame to leave a impression when it comes time for seeding the College Football Playoff.
Collin’s Pick: Notre Dame -11
A Step Up in Competition
By Ken Barkley
While Helton appears to have survived and advanced to next season, and USC needs a win to get bowl eligible, the Trojans might have a lot of trouble getting anything done here.
Initial market analysis could create an impression that Notre Dame is overvalued after covering two huge margins the past two weeks, and that USC is undervalued based on poor results ATS since forever this season, but what is really compelling to me is the extent to which the Irish represent a step up in competition in every way for the Trojans.
Rarely do you get to Week 13 and say, “Well these are the best units this team has faced.” But it’s true in both offense and defense for USC.
Notre Dame’s offense under Book is the best unit the Trojans will have faced for sure, and the Irish defense is absolutely the best the Trojans will have faced. That also doesn’t take into account Notre Dame’s coaching advantage.
So although initial handicapping might create an impression that this number is close to correct (at least it did for me), the extent to which this USC team could get blasted off the field might be under-represented because Notre Dame is unlike any of the Trojans’ opponents thus far.
Remember, USC didn’t draw Oregon or Washington out of the North, so the Trojans are less tested than some of even their conference brethren. This was not a brutal gauntlet by any stretch, and yet USC failed test after test.
Count me as someone who thinks the Trojans will fail yet again in their toughest test of the season. I lean with Notre Dame at -11.
Barkley’s Pick: Notre Dame -11
Trends to Know
By John Ewing
USC needs this win to become bowl eligible, but as a double-digit underdog, the Trojans’ chances are small.
Since 2005, there have been 1,167 home teams listed as underdogs of 10 or more points. Only 141 (12%) of these teams managed to win the game.
USC is a rare home underdog. This is the first time the Trojans have been underdogs in the Coliseum since Week 12 of the 2013 season, when they were +4 dogs against Stanford.
USC is 1-4 straight-up and ATS as a dog at home, including 0-2 SU and ATS when listed as a dog of seven or more points since 2005.
Did You Know?
By Evan Abrams
Since 1960, this will be the seventh time Notre Dame enters the Coliseum undefeated this late in the season. The Irish are an even 3-3 SU in those games, winning the last two in 2012 en route to a national title game loss to Alabama and in 1988 en route to a national title game win over West Virginia.
Even though Notre Dame has had “recent” success in the Coliseum in this spot, others have not been so lucky.
Since 2005, undefeated teams not named Notre Dame are 5-11 ATS in the Coliseum. Since USC lost to Notre Dame in 2012, undefeated teams are 0-8 SU and 1-7 ATS in the Coliseum, failing to cover the spread by 11.6 PPG.