USC vs. Notre Dame Odds & Pick ATS 10/23/21

by | Oct 21, 2021 | cfb

USC Trojans (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1 SU, 3-3 ATS)

When: Saturday, October 23, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.


Point Spread: USC +7/ND -7

Total: O/U 57.5

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The Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh is a battle of teams trying to get things figured out in one way or another. USC has played pretty well on the road against Colorado and Washington State, but the Trojans’ defense has been a mess when they’ve played in the Coliseum. The big question for the Trojans is whether that was a case of defense traveling or whether it was the difference in the quality of the opponent.

We should find out pretty quick in this matchup, as Notre Dame has proven very difficult to stop through the air. The Fighting Irish have done a fine job putting up points on everyone except Cincinnati, but they’ve got one glaring issue: the offensive line. It’s why they haven’t been able to run the ball much and why they’ve struggled at times with better teams: they can’t grind out yards, and they can’t protect Jack Coan. But that might not be a problem in this game: USC isn’t generating quarterback pressure at the moment, and if you’re not getting to Coan, you’re not going to have much success stopping the Irish.

How the Public is Betting the USC/Notre Dame Game

The public and the pros both like the Irish in this one, as they’ve pushed Notre Dame up to the critical number of -7 from -6.5, with the total ticking down a point from 58 to 57.5. Roughly 64 percent of tickets have come in on the Irish.

Injury Concerns

Linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu (knee), offensive lineman Frank Martin II (academics), defensive lineman Maninoa Tufono (academics), wide receiver Kyle Ford (knee), tight end Michael Trigg (leg), safety Chris Thompson Jr. (undisclosed), running back Brandon Campbell (undisclosed), linebacker Drake Jackson (foot) and defensive lineman Kobe Pepe (shoulder) are questionable. Defensive lineman Ishmael Sopsher (leg) is probable. Running back Kenan Christon (personal), tight end Josh Falo (undisclosed), cornerback Adonis Otey (wrist), quarterback Jaxson Dart (knee), linebacker Jordan Iosefa (knee), linebacker Tayler Katoa (Achilles), quarterback Mo Hasan (knee), safety Briton Allen (knee), wide receiver Jake Smith (foot) and wide receiver Bru McCoy (personal) are all out.

Notre Dame:
Tight end Michael Mayer (undisclosed) is probable. Offensive lineman Michael Carmody (ankle) and offensive lineman Tosh Baker (undisclosed) are questionable. Tight end Cane Berrong (knee), wide receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. (knee), running back CBO Flemister (undisclosed), defensive lineman Osita Ekwonu (Achilles), tight end Kevin Bauman (knee), and linebacker Marist Liufau (ankle) are out.

When USC Has the Ball

Drake London is in the kind of zone that only great receivers are able to reach right now, as he has 48 catches in his past four games for 627 yards, a number that a fair amount of receivers would consider a decent season. The Trojans know what they have in the connection between London and quarterback Kedon Slovis, and they won’t hesitate to attack through the air.

The problem is that Slovis can be forced into mistakes, and when a defense has Kyle Hamilton sitting in the secondary, it’s not going to be easy for Slovis to do whatever he wants to do. But beyond London, USC doesn’t really have a great situations with its pass catchers. Over half of Slovis’ yards have come from London, so finding a second receiver really isn’t in USC’s repertoire. If the Trojans challenge the Irish secondary too often, they’re likely to turn the ball over.

When Notre Dame Has the Ball

The Irish are playing for both 2021 and 2022, and that means keeping Jack Coan in for most of the game while letting Tyler Buchner get reps in the process. Ironically, the Irish might be better served by allowing the speedier Buckner to get more time on the field right now because the Notre Dame line is the Irish’s biggest Achilles’ heel. Too often, Coan has had to make quick decisions, which isn’t his strength because he doesn’t have the mobility needed to keep plays alive.
When Coan gets time, he’s an accurate passer who has no problem spreading the field. Five different receivers for the

Irish have at least 200 receiving yards, and nobody has more than Michael Mayer’s 360. But all of that depends on whether he can stay upright because when Coan has to move in the pocket, the results are not pretty. Look for Notre Dame to try to get Kyren Williams established early and hope that the ground game can draw enough pressure away from Coan.

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Betting Trends

USC isn’t used to being an underdog, and USC isn’t good at being an underdog. The Trojans are just 5-14 ATS in their past 19 games as an underdog, and they’re an even worse 3-12 ATS in their past 15 as a road dog. However, USC does do one thing well: they have traveled well in recent years. The Trojans covered four straight away from home — but that does come with the caveat that all four of those games saw USC as the favorite.

This won’t help matters for the Trojans: the home team tends to do its job in this matchup. In the past seven meetings, the visitor has just one cover. Points could also be a good way to play this: the over has hit in four of USC’s past five games.

Weather Report

This weather is exactly why USC doesn’t come to South Bend in December. The temperature will start at 57 and get colder, eventually dropping into the low 40s and possibly even into the high 30s. Wind won’t be an issue at four miles per hour, but chills could come into play.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Notre Dame’s weakness is its line play, but USC doesn’t appear to be able to take advantage of that. The Irish are passing the ball well, and I can’t see the SC defense traveling well enough to stay in the game this time around. I think this one turns into a double-digit win for the Irish, so backing ND and giving seven is an easy call for me. Bet your Week 8 college football picks FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!