UCLA Bruins vs. USC Trojans: Week 12 Betting Picks & Game Analysis

by | Last updated Nov 16, 2023 | cfb

Game Info

UCLA Bruins (6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. USC Trojans (7-4 SU, 3-8 ATS)

Week 12

Date/Time: Saturday, November 18, 2023 at 3:30PM EST

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California


Betting Odds

Point Spread: UCLA +6.5/USC -6.5 (Bovada – See why they’re the best bookie on the planet! Awesome live betting platform, killer bonuses, HUGE wagering menu and fast payouts!)

Money Line: California-Los Angeles +200, Southern Cal -240

Over/Under Total: 65.5

The UCLA Bruins come to the Coliseum for a Pac-12 showdown against the USC Trojans. This annual matchup that goes by a multitude of names like the Crosstown Rivalry, the Battle for LA, the Crosstown Showdown, and others, is one of the signature pairings in west coast college football. This is typically a high-scoring affair and despite USC usually having an edge, UCLA has won twice in the last five years. Last season was a tight one, with the Trojans eking out a 48-45 win. Who can get it done this week?

Who Has More Gas in the Tank?

We’re coming to the end-stages of a regular season where both teams have been through a lot. On a common thread, each team started fast and couldn’t keep it together. That’s especially true of a USC team that looked like a conference contender with a 6-0 start. But losses in 4 of their last five games have sent them tumbling. Last week’s 36-27 loss to Oregon was another in a long line of messages that USC can’t compete at the top of the Pac-12. And it is of little solace that the Trojans have been close against some good teams. They were supposed to be winning some of these.

UCLA has gone off the tracks in less-vivid fashion, but the second-half of this season has not gone according to plan for this Chip Kelly-run squad. It seemed they had gotten it together a little with wins over Stanford and Colorado, but losing to both Arizonas the past two weeks is a bitter pill to swallow. Most unsightly was a 17-7 loss to Arizona St. last week. After some positive signs earlier in the season, the offense has really gone into the tank.

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The Trojans have dealt with some injuries but are relatively intact entering this spot. With constant injuries at the quarterback position, however, the Bruins are a little strapped in that department coming off the Dorian Thompson-Robinson era. Not all is lost, as they have a couple of good backs in Carson Steele and TJ Harden. There is also talent within the receiving corps. But their shortcomings and lack of continuity at the quarterback position are big parts of why they have 17 combined points in their last two games. It’s a little unclear who will be behind center for the Bruins on Saturday. And when the guy behind center for the other team is a defending Heisman winner, it creates a dichotomy that is hard to shake mentally. For all the disappointment and issues on the USC team, they at least have retained a certain level of offensive potency.

Gauging Morale

It can be useful in these late-season pairings to gauge a team’s spirit. And not that UCLA is sailing into this spot. The last few weeks have short-circuited a chance for them to do something really nice this season. But in terms of overall negative distance traveled, maybe they’ve plummeted less than the Trojans. To start 6-0 and drop four out of five while failing to deliver in any meaningful spot is deflating. And even if we see them putting up a fight in some of these games, it’s not enough to overcome a defense that has undermined the team all season long. Even when things were going well, it was only because the offense was in the zone. The defense was even turning sure wins into near losses back then. And now, with the mojo gone and the losses piling up, you wonder what this USC “D” is going to look like these last few games.

Be that as it may, you’d like to see a more intact team on the other sideline if looking to exploit the shortcomings of the USC defense. Let’s also not forget that a lot of this trying-to-make-sense stuff has typically fallen flat as a way to break down this pairing in the past. But USC is prime to be plucked at this point in the season, landing in this spot with a thud after the wheels really came off in ’23. Still, a lot of that came against teams with cemented quarterbacks and functional offenses. Whether UCLA can come close to replicating that remains to be seen based on the last few weeks, one would have to say maybe not.

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A Tough Call

At this point in the season, it’s hard to figure out what’s more difficult, taking a UCLA team that is on the rocks or laying almost a TD on a USC team that has gone off a cliff in the last handful of weeks. Perhaps the nature of this rivalry will give rise to a better energy on both sides, as often seems to be the case. This could be another offensively-geared game, in which case it’s hard to not afford some favor to the Trojans. At another time, the idea of the high-powered Southern Cal offense going against a UCLA offense that has hit a wall would be a tantalizing proposition.

Lay the Points

I can understand not wanting to back the Trojans, never mind giving almost a TD, after what we have seen in the second half of the season. I’m just not sure I want to back this Bruins’ offense right now, even if paired against what has become one of the more exploitable defenses in the conference. I think USC can put up a number this week, with the Bruins hard-pressed to threaten matching it. I’m going with USC in this one.

Loot’s’ Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the USC Trojans minus 6.5 points.

Best Parlays

2 Team Parlay 3 Team Parlay 4 Team Parlay
sportsbetting 2.64 to 1 6 to 1 12.3 to 1
Bovada 2.64 to 1 5.95 to 1 12.3 to 1
Mybookie 2.64 to 1 5.95 to 1 12.3 to 1