The USC Trojans take on the UCLA Bruins. Check out our college football odds series for our USC UCLA prediction and pick.
The UCLA football program faces its moment of truth in this game. UCLA has not won a conference championship since 1998. The Bruins are almost certain to make the Pac-12 Championship Game if they win here. They would have to win at California next week. That's not a lock, but it's very likely that the Bruins will prevail in Berkeley. They just have to beat USC, and they will be playing for high stakes on Thanksgiving and beyond.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been waiting for this moment as the quarterback of the Bruins. He had already spent four years with the program, but he had an extra year of eligibility because of the pandemic (which gave college football players across the country an extra year if they chose to use it). He returned to school this season for a fifth year with head coach Chip Kelly. DTR, as he is commonly known, has been the quarterback at UCLA for as long as Chip Kelly has coached the Bruins. Both men began their UCLA careers in 2018. They haven't sniffed a conference title over the previous four years, but in Year 5, they are very close. This is a veteran UCLA team with a lot of grad transfers surrounding DTR. Chip Kelly has taken advantage of all the veteran experience on this 2022 roster and put UCLA in a position to play a high-stakes game such as this one. UCLA won't have this opportunity next year. The Bruins have to pounce on this special and rare opportunity.
DTR is joined by Zach Charbonnet in an elite offensive backfield. The Bruins need to score big against a USC defense which gave up 35 points to California, 28 to Stanford, 43 to Utah, and 37 to Arizona. USC is getting back linebacker Eric Gentry, who was injured against Utah on Oct. 15. However, getting one player back might not be enough to help a defense which has been bad in the second half of the 2022 season. The Trojans were good in the first six weeks but have noticeably fallen off the pace. It will be fascinating to see how much Gentry's return actually means.
The weakness of USC's defense obviously means the Trojans will have to light up the scoreboard as well. Both teams have to put up 40 points or more to feel somewhat comfortable (but not completely) about their chances. Caleb Williams gets receiver Mario Williams back in this game. Jordan Addison returned last week against Colorado but was used mostly as a decoy. He should be close to full strength in this contest, and USC is likely to need a high-impact performance from him. This game promises a lot of offensive fireworks.
Here are the USC-UCLA NCAA Football Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: USC-UCLA Odds
USC Trojans: -2.5 (-110)
UCLA Bruins: +2.5 (-110)
Over: 76.5 (-110)
Under: 76.5 (-110)
Why USC Could Cover the Spread
The return of Eric Gentry could be the difference for the USC defense. This defense will not play a great game, but it doesn't have to. It merely needs to be average — moderately competent — and not collapse against UCLA. That should be enough, given how well the offense is likely to perform.
Why UCLA Could Cover the Spread
UCLA is going to score a large amount of points. Any slight misstep by the USC offense will matter, and since the Trojans are without star running back Travis Dye, who is out for the season, USC might lack the extra difference-maker it needs on offense.
Final USC-UCLA Prediction & Pick
UCLA's defense is bad. USC's defense is bad. These two offenses are great. Who needs to pick a point-spread winner when you can simply bet on the over-under?
Final USC-UCLA Prediction & Pick: Over 76.5