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Notre Dame owns the edge in the recent rivalry with USC, winning five of the last eight meetings outright, including a blowout last season in South Bend, and going 6-3 against the spread over the last nine encounters. In the 90th edition of one of the great rivalries in college football, the Irish tangle with the Trojans on Saturday night at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
College football point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as eight-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 41.6-17.6 Fighting Irish (College football picks on every game)
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
Notre Dame reached 11-0 on the season and 6-1-1 ATS over its last eight games with a 36-3 slaying of Syracuse last week at Yankee Stadium. The Irish led 13-0 after one quarter and 20-0 at the half, and later pushed that advantage to 36-0 before allowing the Orange to kick a face-saving field goal with 10 seconds left.
On the day, the Irish out-gained Syracuse 463-234 and won the turnover battle 3-1, on their way toward the easy cover as 10-point favorites.
Notre Dame has now out-gained seven of its last eight opponents, each by at least 100 yards. The Irish are also now 7-0 SU and 5-1-1 ATS in games Ian Book has started at quarterback this season.
With a win on Saturday, Notre Dame will almost assuredly secure a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Why the USC Trojans can cover the spread
Southern Cal won three games in a row into October and reached 5-4 earlier this month with a victory at Oregon State. But the Trojans now seek to stop a two-game losing skid, after falling to UCLA last week 34-27. USC drove its opening possession of the game to a field goal, gave up a quick 14 points, but rallied to lead 27-21 into the fourth quarter. The Trojans then gave up the next 13 points to fall down again, drove to the Bruins’ 29-yard line late, but came up empty on a fourth down.
On the afternoon, USC produced 449 yards of total offense, as quarterback JT Daniels threw for 337 yards and two touchdowns. But a missed field goal and two Daniels interceptions basically cost the Trojans a minus-20 point differential.
USC’s last three losses have come by a total of 11 points. At 5-6 overall Southern Cal needs a win Saturday to become bowl-eligible.
Smart betting pick
Notre Dame won this matchup last season 49-14, and the Irish are better now than they were then. Meanwhile, USC has taken a step back and may be playing for a lame-duck coach. Smart money here gives the nod to Notre Dame.
College football betting trends
The total has gone over in Notre Dame’s last three games vs USC.
The total has gone over in six of Notre Dame’s last eight games.
Notre Dame is 12-0 SU in its last 12 games.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.