It’s sad to see the regular season come and go, but now we shift our focus towards conference championship week. With games being played on both Friday and Saturday, we get another weekend for our betting pleasure. Friday’s main event? The rematch between the Utah Utes and USC Trojans.
Utah Vs. USC Odds
After putting on one of the most thrilling games of the season that witnessed the Utes squeak out a narrow win, we now get a rematch for the Pac 12 title. Oddsmakers lean towards the Trojans getting their revenge this time around as they opened as a -2.5 favorite and have already shot up to the key number of -3 in some books.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored in bunches again as the total opened at 65.5 and now sits at 67.5. After combining for 85 points in their initial matchup, bettors are expecting the same with USC being an over bettors dream team with a high-powered offense and weak defense.
Utah Vs. USC Prediction & Pick
The Pick: USC -2.5
If you happened to follow me on Twitter, then you would already know I was big on Utah’s chances to win the conference and grabbed them at +400 for two units. If you tailed that then congrats, now we have a good hedge situation to secure profits each way. If you didn’t, then you’re in luck because I still love the Trojans in this rematch.
The Utes were very fortunate in their last game out against the Trojans after getting thoroughly pushed around for the initial three quarters. They are also fortunate just to have this opportunity after needing UCLA and Washington to win while Oregon was upset by Oregon State.
Simply put, the Trojans are going to find more sustained success this time around behind the backs of their elite offense. Caleb Williams is in the midst of a Heisman campaign after leading his team to a top-5 Success Rate behind 3,712 yards, 34 touchdowns, and three interceptions.
Even with very fortunate turnover luck, the Trojans success has been as simple as the offense out gunning the opposition to a pace that opposing teams cannot keep up with. With Utah still having Finishing Drives issues on offense, I believe they will not be able to keep scoring pace should their redzone woes continue.
Utah Vs. USC Key Matchups
How will the Utes contain Caleb Williams and his dual threat ability? Can Cam Rising take advantage of the Trojans weak defense and get the upset for a second time this season?
Caleb Williams vs Utah linebackers
While it’s virtually impossible to stop USC’s offense, the least any team can do looking to get the win over them is by limiting one of their schemes. The issue? Caleb Williams excels at both the pass and the run game. He’s especially lethal in the red zone, finishing his last game out against Notre Dame with one touchdown in the air and three on the ground.
Utah will be hard pressed to limit him as their rush defense is not as elite as the Utes past few years. They are average in the nation in Def Success Rate, and well below average in limiting Def Rush Explosiveness.
Should Caleb Williams stretch out the defense with success in the air, this will only open up the field for the ground game to burn them. Even without star running back Travis Dye, the Trojans ground game has still been upper tier with a seventh ranked Rush Success Rate.
Cam Rising vs Trojans secondary
It’s no secret that the Trojans defense is bad. Brutally bad if we’re being honest, as this unit ranks below 100th in both Def Pass and Rush Success Rate. Utah is capable of finding success against them again as their offense brings a more conservative approach. Relying on sustained success down the field with small chunks at a time.
While USC’s defense is atrocious in both metrics, they have actually gotten better in defending the pass as their Def Pass Explosiveness ranks top-20. While Utah could potentially just abuse the run, Cam Rising will need to find success in the air and put together a complete game.
While he is capable of doing that, his red zone woes will need to shape up because leaving points off the board is not an option when facing the Trojans. Utah is average in the nation in Off Finishing Drives.
Take USC at -2.5 or better in this rematch for the Pac 12 title as they keep their playoff dreams alive.