Notre Dame vs. USC Betting Preview

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Win this one and they are in. That is how simple it is for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as they had to Southern California on Saturday night for their last game of the season. 

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The Irish currently sit at 11-0 and #3 in the College Football Playoff selection committee rankings, so barring anything supernatural, they will be one of the four teams selected to play for the national championship.

The last step to get there is USC. USC sits at 5-6 and has lost four of their last five. Their last two outings, losses to lowly Cal and UCLA, may have been their worst two performances of the season. The Trojans will look at this game as their Super Bowl, not only because of their rivalry with Notre Dame, but a victory will make them bowl eligible. The Irish are -11 point favorites for this Saturday night contest.

Irish With One More

After the Irish struggled to beat Pittsburgh in mid-October, there were definite concerns about the Irish’s weak schedule and ability to compete with the other blue bloods. However, they have silenced those criticisms by completely wrecking everyone they have faced since then. The Notre Dame defense boasts pro level talent all over the field, but what has separated the Irish from the early criticism has been the offense. The offense is now led by quarterback Ian Book, who has transformed the sluggish offense into a juggernaut.

Book is completing 73% of his passes and has 17 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions in limited time. He has been more than a game manager, but the heart of the Irish attack is their running game. All three of Notre Dame’s running backs are averaging at least 4.7 yards per carry. Couple that with Book’s ability to convert third downs and it is hard to get the Irish off the field. On the season, the Irish are doubling up opponents by an average score of 35-17 each game. Notre Dame is a pretty complete team in all three facets of the game.

Down Season for Trojans

USC would like to close its eyes and forget that 2018 even happened. Before losing four of five, the Trojans were sitting at 4-2 and looked to be a respectable program. Then the wheels fell off. The complete opposite of Notre Dame, USC does not do one thing particularly well. They are outside the national top-100 of almost every offense and defensive category. Freshman quarterback JT Daniels has shown flashes at times, but overall he is having a below average season.

He has thrown for just 13 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The teams that have competed with Notre Dame this year have one thing in common. They kept the Irish offense off the field and were able to run the football. Unfortunately for the Trojans, they have had almost zero rushing attack all season. I do not see that changing against the formidable Irish defense, so for USC to have a shot, JT Daniels is going to have his best game of his career.

Pick and Prediction

 USC has not shown anything this year that makes me believe they can compete with Notre Dame. Outside of a miracle, Notre Dame should run wild over the Trojans and mercifully end their dismal season. Notre Dame wins and covers, 43-17.

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