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The No. 14 Utah Utes (5-1) are heading to the West Coast for a Pac-12 showdown with the reeling No. 18 USC Trojans (6-1) on Saturday.
Utah’s only loss of the season was a 21-7 result against No. 19 Oregon State, but they are only 1-1 against ranked opponents. USC’s lone loss of the season came last week, but it was a 48-20 beating put on them by No. 21 Notre Dame.
As we continue, we’ll break down the betting odds and share our best bets for the upcoming top-25 showdown.
|No. 14 Utah||+7 (-108)||+235||Over 53 (-110)|
|No. 18 USC||-7 (-112)||-290||Under 53 (-110)|
USC and Utah aren’t clear-cut rivals in the way the Trojans are with UCLA, or Oregon is with Washington. But the Utes beat them twice last year, including in the Pac-12 championship game. With USC coming off a brutal loss, this is the ultimate spot for them to exact revenge (if vengeance is going to come).
The betting odds like the Trojans by a full touchdown despite their terrible defense and the first signs of their offense struggling against physical defenses.
USC ranks second in points per game (47.3) and ninth in total offense (492.6 yards per game). A majority of that is thanks to reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams, the presumptive first-overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Williams averages close to 300 yards per game and has 23 touchdowns to four interceptions, but he was held to 199 yards, one TD, and three INTs last weekend.
Running back Marshawn Lloyd leads the nation (amongst qualified backs) at 7.5 yards per carry but only has 75 carries (10.7 per game) and five touchdowns.
The USC defense has also done its best to undo the good work of the offense. They allow 30 points per game (96th) and just gave up 48 to a slightly above-average Notre Dame offense.
Utah is not going to unleash a blitzkrieg of offense on USC. They’re only 109th in points per game (21.7) and 120th in yards per play (4.81). But their defense is fifth in points (12.2) and ninth in yards (277.8) allowed per game and also fifth in sacks per game.
The Utes are a physical bunch that consistently wear down their opponents and beat them into submission, as shown by their second-half scoring differential (65-36).
USC coach Lincoln Riley and Williams are both geniuses in their own right. They should have enough between them to get the Trojans back on track, even if just off their own brilliance, but Utah is going to create lots of headaches.
The Utes’ defensive front is hellacious and will get the better of USC’s line. Their slow, run-heavy offense will also capitalize on USC’s lack of defensive physicality and allow them to control the clock.
We firmly believe in taking the team with the better player in close matchups (check the archives on our Washington vs. Oregon pick). USC has the best player by a wide margin in Williams, but styles make fights, and USC doesn’t have the bodies to stop what Utah is best at. Expect them to keep the game close but a couple of highlight plays to be the difference as USC wins a bloodbath.
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Because we expect Utah to control the clock and also don’t see a world in which they score a ton of points, we’re leaning toward the under.
Williams is the best player in college football but was made to look mortal by a Notre Dame defense that is nearly identical in approach to Utah’s in terms of physicality, brute force, and aggressiveness. His moxy and resolve will be on full display at home Saturday night.
All bets are off if USC moves the ball with ease in the opening quarter, but we expect the Utes to hold the line.
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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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