UCLA Bruins vs. USC Trojans Preview and Pick – Point Spread

UCLA Bruins (6-5) 6-5 ATS, 3-8 O/U at USC Trojans (7-3) 2-8 ATS, 5-5 O/U Saturday November 28, 2009 10:00 p.m. EST Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
By Wilson of Predictem.com

Point Spread: UCLA +13/USC -13
Over/Under: 47.5

Bet this game at an online sportsbook that offers teasers where TIES WIN! Check this out today at 5Dimes.

In December of 2006 the UCLA Bruins upset then No. 2 USC Trojans 13-9. The Bruins would love to repeat that result this weekend in LA. Who would have guessed that the Trojans would be sitting in fifth place in the Pac 10 this late in November? The Trojans had a week to recover from a disappointing loss to Stanford 55-21. The Bruins are coming into this cross-town battle after beating Arizona State 23-13. Will the Bruins get a piece of the pie like Stanford, Oregon, and Washington did by knocking off the Trojans? Will USC snap out of their funk and put a beat-down on the pretty boys from Pasadena? It will all come down to the regular scenario; which team will hold onto the pigskin and execute more efficiently and timely.

UCLA has rebounded a bit from their last few seasons of non-UCLAish football. Theyre not at the top of the Pac-10 but neither is USC. Every team has to rebuild and that has been the issue for both of these teams lately especially SC as they lost nearly their entire defense from a year ago. The best offense is a great defense and the proof is evident for the Trojans.

But lets take a look at the numbers and see who may have the upper hand this weekend in the City of Angels. Statistic-wise, this may be one of the closer matchups between the LA schools in years, at least on paper. The Bruins are averaging 22.6 points per game with 226 yards passing and 114 yards rushing. UCLAs offense is also holding onto the ball for 29 minutes each game.

The Trojans are averaging 27.5 points per effort with 219 yards through the air and 181 on the ground. They keep the rock for 28 minutes per game. Both teams are close in points allowed per contest as UCLA allows 20.6 to USCs 21.7. Perhaps this is the biggest concern for bettors, coaches, and fans as its rare to see any team allow fewer points per game in a matchup with the Trojans. This will be the difference in the ball game- who will allow the big plays, who will get beat when it matters most?

USC is 3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS, 3-1 O/U at home this season. They are also 7-3 SU, 2-8 ATS, and 5-5 O/U as the favorite this year. UCLA is 2-3 SU, 2-2 ATS, and 1-4 O/U on the road this season. The Bruins are 1-4 SU, 1-4 ATS, and 1-4 O/U as the dog this year.

The Trojans have won this matchup the last two years by a combined score of 52-14. But the tide may be changing to favor the Bruins chances with the lack of defense for the Men of Troy.

The line on this game opened at USC -11 with a total of 48. Most online sportsbooks are showing USC -13 with a total of 47.5. The Las Vegas Hilton has USC at -13.5 while the Mirage, Planet Hollywood, and The Hard Rock Hotel and Casinos have SC at -13. The Hilton and the Hard Rock have the total at 47.5 as well while the Mirage and PH are off.

The QB matchup should be interesting as both squads field freshmen behind center. USCs Matt Barkley has tossed 11 TDs but he also has 10 picks while UCLA and Los Angeles born freshman Kevin Prince has thrown 6 TDs to 5 INTs. Both QBs have a 57 percent completion rate.

Im not sold on the -13 in this game. I like UCLA to put up one heck of an effort and join their Pac-10 brethren who have humbled the almighty Trojans. The Bruins defense has turned the corner recently as they proved themselves worthy in the ASU win- this will carry over to the SC game.

Wilsons Pick: UCLA 24, USC 21. Luck to ya.