College Football Picks: USC vs. Notre Dame Betting Preview

Joe Freda

Friday, October 18, 2013 11:56 AM UTC

Friday, Oct. 18, 2013 11:56 AM UTC

It's always a classic rivalry game between Notre Dame and USC, even if both squads have been underperforming. Let's review the betting lines and get a winning ticket.

The USC Trojans survived a late surge in last Thursday’s 38-31 victory over the Arizona Wildcats, cashing as 5 ½-point home favorites. Saturday’s NCAAF betting has Ed Orgeron’s squad visiting the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, who return from a bye week. 

Trojans, Kessler hold on 

Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler tossed a pair of quick touchdowns in last week’s win, giving his side an early 14-0 lead. The sophomore threw for 297 yards, finding wide out Nelson Agholor for a team-high seven catches. 

USC’s Justin Davis and Javorius Allen took in three scores from the backfield, while mate Silas Redd rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries. Kessler and Co. moved the ball for 27 first downs in their 34 minutes of possession, while the matchup’s combined 69 points flew OVER the ‘total’ of 48. 

The Trojans’ defense gave up 508 total yards, allowing an 8-for-17 mark in Arizona’s third-down conversions. USC was flagged for seven penalties (50 yards), while neither side recorded a turnover. 

Irish upset Sun Devils 

Notre Dame has been out of action since Oct. 5, pulling out a 37-34 win as a 6 ½-point dog against the Arizona State Sun Devils. Irish linebacker Dan Fox returned a late interception for a “pick six” score, while running backs Cam McDaniel and George Atkinson III united for 136 rushing yards. 

Notre Dame’s Tommy Rees connected 17-of-38 passes, throwing three touchdowns as part of 279 yards. Rees’ targets T.J. Jones and Troy Niklas reached the end zone once each, with Jones logging a team-high eight receptions. 

The duel’s combined 71 points jumped above the college football odds ‘total’ of 63 ½, lifting the OVER to 4-1 in Notre Dame’s last five contests. Irish kicker Kyle Brindza hit 3-of-4 field goals, including a season-long strike from 54 yards.

Back USC as a short dog

Bet365 opened Notre Dame as a three-point home favorite, with early wagers on the Irish shifting their side’s premium to minus 120. The ‘total’ was first posted at 50 ½, remaining unchanged in mixed NCAAF betting.

I am taking the points with USC as part of Saturday’s sports picks, looking for the Trojans to stay on a cashing path since Lane Kiffin’s firing.

USC has piled in 35.5 PPG in its pair of road spots, while cashing at 2-1 ATS in the team’s last three trips to Notre Dame Stadium. Trojans running back Tre Madden ranks second in the Pacific 12 with 101.8 YPG, while wide out Marquis Lee (12.8 YPR) is “probable” to return after missing last week’s matchup with a knee injury. 

Notre Dame has been overvalued with a 2-6-1 spread record in its last nine home dates, while going 2-4 ATS in its last six spots as a favorite of four points or less. The Irish have given up 34.5 PPG in their last two matchups, while falling with a 0-3-1 mark at betting windows in spots that followed the squad’s last four victories.

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USC has held the Irish to 14.8 PPG in the last six meetings between the rivals, and have the right spot to tighten up here again. Look for Trojans mates Devon Kennard and George Uko to add to their combined eight sacks for the season, while collecting as short dogs for our college football picks.

Free Picks: USC Trojans +3 at Bet365

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