Utah vs. USC kicks off this Saturday at 8:00pm EST in Los Angeles California as a home game for the Trojans. Utah is currently a +7 underdog and +220 on the moneyline while the total is set at 55.5. Read on for more Utah vs. USC best bets and predictions as the Trojans look to bounce back with a dominant win.
Utah Vs. USC Prediction & Best Bet
It was an absolute smash spot for Notre Dame last week, having massive key advantages on both sides of the ball against a fraudulent USC squad. Especially when on offense, getting the benefit of calling a heavy dose of the run against a USC rush defense incapable of stopping a nosebleed while also negating the poor weather effects. Factor in Caleb Williams struggles against the Fighting Irish pressure, and they were doomed shortly after kickoff.
While all hope looks lost for a USC team vying for a playoff spot, it’s worth mentioning that they actually performed better than the score indicates. Especially on the defensive end on standard downs in non-turnover drives, holding Notre Dame’s offense to multiple punts when they had to go the full length of the field. A rare defensive feat for a team that grades red across the board, and one worth monitoring as they take on a far worse offense in the Utah Utes.
Utah’s struggles on offense can’t be overstated as this unit looks lost without their star quarterback Cam Rising. Especially in the pass attack, ranking 128th in Pass PPA, 110th in Pass Success Rate, and 123rd in Pass Explosiveness. They have an inability to capitalize on USC’s secondary poor Def Pass Explosiveness metrics, while also having to deal with above average marks in Def Pass Success rate.
Worse yet for the Utes, they will not be able to abuse the run at the same success that Notre Dame had. Even against a USC rush defense that ranks 86th in Def Rush PPA, 90th in Def Rush Success Rate, and 84th in Def Rush Explosiveness, it was apparent that the Trojans could mask their inefficiencies by stacking the box. Unlike Notre Dame, Utah will not be able to take advantage of a stacked box by passing over the top of them.
On the other end it’s business as usual for Caleb Williams and company as they still have one of the most high-powered offenses in football. Even with Utah’s defense playing at an elite rate, they have a massive chunk in their armor with a lowly Def Pass Explosiveness mark. That plays right into Caleb Williams’ hands as his scrambling ability will create gaps in the Utah defense, giving the USC offense ample opportunities to move the sticks and create a scoring pace too fast for Utah to keep up with.
Utah Vs. USC Prediction & Best Bet: USC -6.5
Utah Vs. USC Betting Odds
Even with both sides coming in with drastically different momentum swings, this is USC’s game to lose as oddsmakers opened the Trojans as a -3.5 favorite. Bettors believe that was an overreaction, backing USC up to as high as the key number of -7. With a few -6.5’s out there as of writing, it’s key to get under -7 should you also like the Trojans in this matchup.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 57.5. Bettors believe that opened a tad too high, taking the under down to 55.5 as of writing. The movement makes sense as defense will be Utah’s strengths, slowing down the USC offense while struggling to move the ball on the other end.
Utah Vs. USC Key Matchups
Can MarShawn Lloyd bounce back against an elite Utah front seven?
MarShawn Lloyd Vs. Utah Front Seven
It was a relatively quiet outing for MarShawn Lloyd against the Fighting Irish, rushing for 46 yards on eight attempts and one rushing touchdown. His lack of touches come from having to play behind for a majority of the contest, now getting the task of finding success against an elite Utah front seven.
— FirstSportz NFL (@FirstSportz_NFL) October 15, 2023
Utah’s rush defense metrics are elite across the board, currently ranking 14th in Def Rush PPA, 12th in Def Rush Success Rate, and 29th in Def Rush Explosiveness. The issue for the Utes is that their second level will be forced to be spread out against Caleb Williams passing ability, opening the door for Lloyd to find success in the open field.