Week 13 of the 2012 college football season features a compelling match up with major BCS Bowl implications as the top ranked and undefeated Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (11-0) travel to the Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA to take on their traditional rivals from the PAC-12 the USC Trojans (7-4) on Saturday night (8:00pm ET). The Irish are 6-5 ATS this season, and have covered in two of their last six games including a 38-0 win over Wake Forest last week as a 23.5 point favorite. USC is 3-8 ATS this season, and the Trojans have covered only one of their last four games and were beaten by their crosstown rivals UCLA 38-28 last week as a 4 point favorite.
The Notre Dame offense ranks 74th among FBS teams ins scoring with 27.2 points per game and 50th in total offense with 419.7 yards per game. Their strength offensively is a strong running game that averages 200.7 YPG (33rd in the nation) behind a running back by committee approach. The Irish defense is led by standout middle linebacker Manti Te’o and a strong defensive line. The Irish rank 2nd in the country in points allowed with 10.1 per game, and 6th in total defense with 287.4 YPG allowed.
USC has a host of stars on offense including wide receiver Marquise Lee (1,605 receiving yards), quarterback Matt Barkley (3,273 yards passing, 36 TDs, 15 INTs) and tailback Silas Redd (740 yards rushing). Barkley will be out Saturday with a shoulder injury and this could severely hamper the Trojan offense against one of the top defenses in the country. USC ranks 26th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 36.1 PPG and 27th in total offense with 467.5 YPG. The Trojan defense ranks 48th in scoring defense with 24.8 PPG allowed and 60th in total defense with 392.2 YPG allowed, but has been torched by the likes of Oregon (62 points), Arizona (39 points) and UCLA (38 points) in three of their four losses.
Notre Dame vs. USC Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -6.5
@ USC Trojans +6.5
Over 46 (-110)
Under 46 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Notre Dame vs. USC Pick:
Notre Dame has a 1-4 record ATS in their last 5 games against PAC-12 teams, a 1-4 record ATS in their last 5 November games and a 6-2 record ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game. The Trojans are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 November games, but 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games against winning teams. The under is a strong trend for the Irish; and is 5-0 in ND’s last 5 games against PAC-12 teams, 7-1-1 in their last 9 road games and 6-0-1 in their last 7 games against teams with winning home records. The under is 6-1 in USC’s last 7 home games, 4-1 in their last 5 games against independent teams and 6-2 in their last 8 non-conference games. The under is 4-1 in the last 5 head-to-head meetings between the two teams. Notre Dame is 3-7 ATS in the last 10 games against USC, and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings at the Coliseum.
The Irish have a decided advantage in this game with Barkley out for USC, but ND has not been a great bet against the spread this season and has a tendency to play tight games. The Irish should pull this one out as well with one of the best defenses in the country, but with number 1 teams going down with regularity that is by no means a sure thing. The trend that stands out for both teams and in this series is the under. Notre Dame will be without a doubt the best defense the Trojans face all season, and with their starting QB USC will be even more hard-pressed to pile up points even with all of their play makers on offense. ND does have the big play ability on offense to take advantage of the Trojans defensive deficiencies, and they will likely stick to a conservative game plan that eats up the clock and keeps the score low. Take the under here.
PICK = Under 46