USC vs. Notre Dame kicks off this Saturday at 7:30pm EST in Notre Dame as a home game for the Fighting Irish. USC is currently a +2.5 underdog and +125 on the moneyline while the total is set at 60.5. Read on for more USC vs. Notre Dame best bets and predictions as the Fighting Irish look to bounce back with an outright win over the Trojans.
USC Vs. Notre Dame Prediction
At some point only relying on your offense will come to bite you and it nearly happened in the Trojans last game out against Arizona. With a defense that was unable to limit an Arizona offense led by their backup quarterback, USC fans clutched their chests with each overtime as their reality became more clear. USC luckily skated by with the win, yet their future now looks bleak with a brutal six game stretch on deck.
On Notre Dame’s end, their postseason hopes now look bleak after losing to the Louisville Cardinals in an unfortunate schedule spot. Their schedule maker did them no favors by not giving the Fighting Irish a bye in the midst of a brutal four game stretch. A stretch that includes Ohio State, Duke, Louisville, and now USC. Even with the postseason in the rear-view mirror, this is still a heated rivalry and one that will have Notre Dame more than motivated enough to show up for.
As for how Notre Dame will fare against the Trojans, they come into this one with a massive advantage in the trenches that can swing the game heavily in their favor. Especially when they are on offense, limiting any pressure to their backfield against USC’s horrific defense. Their defensive line is poised to get stuffed while their linebacking group looks like they are on a two second delay.
That plays right into Sam Hartman’s hands as he looks to bounce back after an underwhelming performance against Louisville. He now gets the benefit of shredding an average defense at best, a USC unit that ranks 42nd in Def Pass Success, 56th in Def Pass PPA, and 118th in Def Pass Explosiveness. The Explosiveness is especially intriguing as that is an area the ND pass attack thrives in off the rocket arm of Hartman.
Speaking of bounce backs, Notre Dame’s running back Audric Estime is poised for a monster performance as he gets the benefit of running wild against the USC rush defense. This has been a massive struggle for USC, ranking 93rd in Def Rush PPA, 88th in Def Rush Success, and 104th in Def Rush Explosiveness. Estime will routinely have ND’s offense in great position to move the sticks, as well as capitalizing on high quality scoring opportunities inside the 20.
USC Vs. Notre Dame Prediction: Notre Dame -2.5
USC Vs. Notre Dame Betting Odds
With both units looking underwhelming for different reasons, oddsmakers pegged this as close as a game can get by opening it at a PK. Bettors lean towards Notre Dame’s favor, backing the Irish up to as high as -3 in some shops. That comes as no surprise as their defense is more than capable of limiting the USC offense while facing no pressure on the other end.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a blistering pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 66.5. Bettors believe that was opened way too high, backing the under down to as low as 60 as of writing. This is heavily predicated on USC’s ability to contribute towards the total as they face their toughest defensive test of their season so far.
USC Vs. Notre Dame Key Matchups
Can Notre Dame’s front seven slow down Caleb Williams?
Caleb Williams Vs. Notre Dame Front Seven
It’s not enough for Notre Dame to just take advantage of the weak USC defense, they will also need to slow down star quarterback Caleb Williams if they want to comfortably secure the win. Under Williams, USC’s offense ranks ninth in Success Rate, eighth in Explosiveness, and 10th in Points per Opportunity.
This throw from Caleb Williams 🤯
— The Players’ Lounge (@ThPlayersLounge) October 11, 2023
Notre Dame is in a good position to at least make WIlliams uncomfortable, possessing a huge advantage in the trenches. With an ability to push back the line with ease, ND’s front line will collapse the pocket and force the ball out of Caleb’s hands quicker than anticipated. This limits their wideouts ability to create separation, making Williams throw into tight windows and potentially generate Havoc opportunities to Notre Dame’s favor.