USC and Notre Dame are undoubtedly among college football’s most storied programs, but when these two teams meet up tonight under the lights at Notre Dame Stadium, they will be playing for two very different reasons.
The Trojans will try to score a signature upset win that helps head coach Clay Helton beat back his vocal critics, while Notre Dame looks for a convincing win on the national stage that keeps their College Football Playoff hopes alive.
The Fighting Irish have been red-hot against the spread in recent weeks, cashing their fourth-straight cover in a 52-0 win over Bowling Green a week ago, which was particularly nice given that game marked the first Notre Dame contest in the wake of Indiana online sports betting going live last week.
Note: No. 2 quarterback Kedon Slovis has since been cleared to start.
USC, which has survived a slew of injuries at the quarterback position on its way to a respectable 3-2 start amid considerable adversity, is coming off a bye week and will be hoping that the extra rest and prep time will help them grab their first win at Notre Dame in eight years. It will be a tall order against a heavily-favored No. 9 Fighting Irish squad that has blasted opponents at home this season by a combined 153-34 margin.
After being dominating in the head-to-head series for an eight-year period in the previous decade, Notre Dame has rebounded with wins in six of the nine meetings between the two teams since Brian Kelly took over.
Will Notre Dame keep the coveted Jeweled Shillelagh for a third-straight season and cover the double-digit spread in the process, or will USC get feisty and score an upset on the big stage?
Let’s get into it with our USC vs. Notre Dame betting preview that is loaded with odds, picks, trends and predictions.
Where to Bet on USC vs. Notre Dame
If you’re in the state of Indiana and are heading to the game, hitting the bar or just hanging out at home, you can get in on the action with DraftKings Sportsbook Indiana. They will match your first bet up to $200, and if you’re lucky enough to be at the game, you can pray to Touchdown Jesus that your bet cashes. Don’t worry–it’s legal now. He won’t mind.
(I used that line last week, but I like it, so it stays.)
If you’re in the state of Pennsylvania, be sure to check out our comprehensive rundown of PA online sportsbooks to find all of the best welcome offers, big odds boosts, and betting promos.
FOX Bet is running a parlay odds boost that includes the Fighting Irish with Colin Cowherd’s Marquee 3 Super Boost that is a three-leg parlay on Notre Dame (-10), Iowa (+3.5), and LSU (-13). The payout has been boosted from +600 to +800. Strong.
If you’re over in New Jersey, be sure to checkout our NJ online sports betting that’s loaded with comprehensive sportsbook reviews, welcome promos, and bonus offers.
How to Watch USC vs. Notre Dame
Date: Saturday, October 12
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Location: Notre Dame Stadium (Notre Dame, IN)
Announcers: Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie, Kathryn Tappen, Terry McAulay
USC vs. Notre Dame Weather
It’s always a good idea to check the game conditions before locking in a play, and they could be a mild factor tonight.
Temperatures are expected to sit in the upper 40s throughout the game under clear skies, but there will be some active winds blowing at about 15 mph. Nothing crazy, but it could have an impact on the kicking game.
USC vs. Notre Dame Odds
Here are the current Notre Dame-USC betting odds:
|USC||+11 (-110)||+310||O 58.5 (-110)|
|Notre Dame||-11 (-110)||-420||U 58.5 (-110)|
Let’s look at this one from a different angle by using ESPN’s FPI model.
Such projection models aren’t always accurate predictors of an event’s outcome, but it’s worth a look to compare the implied probability of the moneyline odds with a second source in order to find out if there’s potentially some betting value on the board. If there exists a pronounced disparity between the two numbers, there could be an opportunity to exploit a certain betting angle.
In relation to the Fighting Irish’s FPI win probability, the -420 moneyline odds (80.8% win probability) at DraftKings represents some slight betting value.
As for USC, there’s no value on the Trojans at +310 moneyline odds (24.4% win probability) when stacked against FPI.
Notre Dame vs. USC Betting Preview
After falling to Georgia three weeks ago, Notre Dame needs to perform well on the national stage and run the table if they are to have any shot at reaching the College Football Playoff once again this season. Their latest crack at it comes in a primetime game against historic rival USC.
There’s no doubt that these two teams have played in some classics over the years:
— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) April 27, 2016
I’m not exactly sure that we’ll get the same finish tonight when the No. 9 Fighting Irish square off against a Trojans squad that has withstood multiple quarterback injuries in weathering a turbulent start.
USC finally received some good news on the injury front earlier this week when promising freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, who’s thrown for 732 yards and five touchdowns against four interceptions, was cleared from concussion protocol. He will get the start tonight against a stingy Notre Dame defense that is allowing only 14.8 points per game.
Still, if USC’s offensive line can buy Slovis enough time, he’ll have opportunities to distribute the ball to a talented group of wide receivers in Amon-Ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr., and Tyler Vaughns. The trio has already combined for 90 receptions, 1,153 yards, and nine touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book will look to continue his excellent play at home. In three combined games against New Mexico, Virginia, and Bowling Green, Book has tossed 10 touchdowns against 0 interceptions. Granted, New Mexico and Bowling Green, specifically, aren’t going to be mistaken for elite programs, but Book has no less performed at a high level at home.
Notre Dame should also have some success running the football against a USC defense allowing 175.2 rushing yards per game and 4.5 rushing yards per carry. Junior running Jafar Armstrong, who will return after being sidelined with an abdominal tear in his team’s season-opener against Louisville, was a breakout candidate coming into the season and could be in line to make some big plays tonight.
Notre Dame vs. USC Betting Trends
Why Backing USC is a Good Bet
PAC-12 Teams are Solid Road Underdogs After a Big Loss
PAC-12 road underdogs of 10-13 points are 12-7 ATS after losing by 14+ points in their previous game.
Notre Dame is only 19-29-3 ATS as a home favorite after a win and 8-21-1 ATS when favored by 10+ points, while all home teams favored by 10-14 points coming off a win of 50+ points are only 6-10 ATS. They are also only 2-5 ATS when favored by 7+ points after a win and cover under Kelly.
Public Support is a Problem for Notre Dame
When more than 60% of spread bets are on Notre Dame as a favorite, the Fighting Irish are only 29-44-3 ATS. When the percentage is between exactly 60-70%, they are only 18-25-1 ATS.
Why Backing Notre Dame is a Good Bet
Ranked vs. Unranked
Top 10 home favorites that scored at least 50 points in their previous game are 73-52-4 ATS against unranked opponents and 69-50-4 ATS when favored by double digits.
USC Has Been Dreadful Against the Spread
USC is only 6-14 ATS over its last 20 games and 1-4 ATS over its last five road games. Under Helton, USC is 3-9 ATS as an underdog and 1-7 ATS as a road underdog. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS this season, including four straight covers, and 3-0 ATS at Notre Dame Stadium.
Notre Dame vs. USC Prediction
Notre Dame is rolling right now and is a perfect 3-0 both straight up and against the spread at home this season. Clearly, they’re the more talented team and should secure a victory over USC tonight. That being said, USC has talent, too, and Notre Dame doesn’t typically follow wins with covers against bigger spreads. I’m going to go against the public favorite and grab USC with the points.
Prediction: USC (+11) over Notre Dame