Lincoln Riley’s first year in Southern California has been a success, especially if his Trojans squad can pick up a win in the Notre Dame at USC betting matchup and then take home the Pac-12 Championship next weekend. That would push USC to 12-1, which would be a hard resume to keep out of the CFP depending on how things shake out with teams like TCU and LSU.
Notre Dame can do the playoff selection committee a big favor by getting the upset win as +4.5 underdogs on Saturday night. The Fighting Irish seem to have finally gotten comfortable in Marcus Freeman’s system, winners of five straight. 59% of the betting public likes ND getting the points here.
Irish Looking Much Better
Two games are going to haunt Notre Dame this season, the 26-21 home loss to Marshall in week two as -20 point favorites and falling 16-14 to Stanford in South Bend in week 7 with a ND -16.5 line. The 21-10 loss at Ohio State in the season opener was expected, but really the Fighting Irish should be coming into Saturday night’s game 10-1.
It is what it is, and 8-3 Notre Dame aims to get another signature win of the 2022 season against the Trojans. ND did hand then #4 Clemson it’s first loss of the season 35-14 in week 10, so really this is probably the best 3-loss team in the nation.
The Notre Dame offense has really come around lately, with 35+ points in each of their five straight wins. That has been fueled by a deep and talented rushing backfield featuring Logan Diggs, Audric Estime, and Chris Tyree who can all carry the load in any given game.
A Heisman On the Line for USC
Riley has continued his recent trend of QBs being Heisman contenders, with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray winning in 2017 and 2018 respectively and Jalen Hurts being the runner-up in 2019. Caleb Williams has climbed to the front-runner for the award in 2022 behind 33 TD passes to just 3 INTs to go with another 7 TDs on the ground.
Williams has been especially good over the past month-plus with 5 TD passes against both Utah and Arizona and throwing for 470 yards in last week’s 48-45 win over UCLA. Notre Dame does have a good pass defense though, ranking 17th in the nation allowing just 186.8 ypg.
The Trojans defense does need to be addressed heading into the Notre Dame at USC betting matchup as UCLA amassed 513 total yards last week. USC has allowed 279.7 pass yards/game over their last three and if the Irish can get their running game going early, that should also open things up through the air.
Free Notre Dame at USC Betting Pick
USC is 1-point away from an 11-0 record coming into this rivalry matchup, suffering a 43-42 loss at Utah in week 7. This side could really go either way, but with both teams capable – if not probable – to score in the 40s the best play of the game is on the total.
Free Pick: Over 63.5