Cal vs USC Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/5/22)
The #9 Southern Cal. Trojans (7-1, 5-1) play home to the California Golden Bears (3-5, 1-4) on Saturday night in a showdown that may get out-of-hand early if the teams play to their usual style. With the Trojans coming off a 45-37 offensive showcase against Arizona and with the Bearcats beaten handedly by Oregon 42-24, this rivalry game could get out of hand fast as these teams are trending in different directions at a pivotal point of the season. Let’s take a look at the odds, preview, prediction, and key matchup for this one.
California Golden Bears vs Southern Cal. Trojans Odds
The Trojans are -21.5 point favorites to the +21.5 underdog Golden Bears. The over/under is set at 58 points.
Cal Golden Bears vs USC Trojans Preview & Prediction
The #9 USC Trojans failed to cover their 14 point spread against the Arizona Wildcats last Saturday and their struggling defense is entirely to blame. Averaging 41 points per game on offense, USC’s defense allows 24 points per game but even more telling is the unit’s fourth-to-last conference ranked rush defense, which allows 152.1 rush yards per game. To USC bettor’s dismay, the problems on defense can be summed up by the unit’s failure to end a garbage-time drive on 4th and 12 that ended in an Arizona spread-covering rushing touchdown. While the Trojans’ offense is in championship-form, its defense is reminiscent of a Helton-era squad.
Going up 10-7 early in the first quarter, Cal bettors may have relaxed some given their hefty +16 point spread and the reality that the Golden Bears were actually competing with the Oregon Ducks. Bo Nix had other plans shortly thereafter though and six scores later, the Ducks squeezed out a cover as they won 42-24. Going up against another gun-slinging quarterback this week in Trojan Caleb Williams, the Golden Bears won’t have the luxury of turnovers to rely on when facing USC, which owns the #1 ranked turnover margin in college football at +16.
Welcoming back star wideout Jordan Addison and star offensive lineman Andrew Vorhees, QB Caleb Williams and the offense will inevitably keep rolling on Saturday. With Cal’s defense ranked in the bottom of the PAC12, any player-prop bets for the Trojans should be in good shape as it would be surprising if the offense didn’t put up at least 35+ points. With a decent showing against Oregon, I understand why some may want to avoid a USC spread given their failure to cover in two straight games. While the Golden Bears offense is ranked 10th out of 12 among PAC12 teams, Trojan’s defensive coordinator Alex Grinch hasn’t proven that this defense is capable of ending games by itself, instead needing the offense to continuously score. Because of this, I think the safest option is to tease the USC spread down a few points and pair it with a lower total over. USC games have hit the over in 6 of 8 games and 58 is the lowest total in three weeks for the Trojans.
Prediction: USC 42 | CAL 20
Cal Golden Bears vs USC Trojans Key Matchup
Cal QB Jack Plummer versus USC’s Secondary
Throwing for 214 yards and a touchdown along with 2 interceptions on 20 of 33 passing attempts, QB Jack Plummer had a forgettable performance against Oregon last week. What a rebound week this could be for Plummer however, as USC’s defense has struggled mightily to stop opposing quarterbacks from imposing their will. Plummer’s inability to run the ball effectively may be a plus for the USC defense though as running-QBs have decimated this defense all year long. Can Grinch’s defense finally stop an opposing passer? This will be their best chance yet.