USC at UCLA: What bettors need to know
USC at UCLA (-4, 64.5)
All that preseason chatter about Matt Barkley coming back to win a national championship sounds a little bit silly with No. 21 Southern California needing to beat No. 16 UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday just to win its half of the Pac-12. The Trojans trail the Bruins by a half-game in the Pac-12 South and the winner advances to the Pac-12 title game. USC has won five straight and 12 of the last 13 meetings with UCLA, including a 50-0 trouncing last season when Barkley threw for 423 yards and six touchdown passes. The Bruins have resurfaced impressively this season under first-year coach Jim Mora and have won four consecutive games. TV:
3:05 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE:
USC –4, O/U 64.5.
Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low-60s with a 60 percent chance of rain. Winds will blow out of the SSW at 6 mph.
ABOUT USC (7-3, 5-3 Pac-12 South):
Barkley has passed for 2,972 yards and 33 touchdowns, but his senior season has been mildly disappointing because of his 13 interceptions, the Trojans’ 26 turnovers and USC’s three defeats. Sophomore receiver Marqise Lee has been USC’s top offensive player with 98 receptions for 1,447 yards and 13 touchdowns. Lee’s 144.7 receiving yards per game ranks second nationally. Junior tailback Silas Redd is expected to return after missing the Nov. 10 contest against Arizona State with a knee injury. USC has committed 13 turnovers over its last three games. Senior free safety T.J. McDonald has a team-best 83 tackles, junior defensive end Morgan Breslin has a team-high 9.5 sacks and sophomore strong-side linebacker Dion Bailey leads with four interceptions.ABOUT UCLA (8-2, 5-2):
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley has been superb and a key figure in the Bruins’ rise. Hundley has passed for 2,739 yards and 24 touchdowns and has been intercepted only nine times. Senior running back Johnathan Franklin has racked up 1,270 yards and has topped 100 yards seven times. UCLA has an opportunistic defense that has forced 25 turnovers, including 13 interceptions. Senior strong safety Andrew Abbott and senior cornerback Sheldon Price are tied for the team lead with four apiece. Junior outside linebacker Anthony Barr leads the Bruins in sacks (11) and tackles for losses (17).TRENDS:
* Trojans are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games.
* Under is 6-0 in the last six meetings.
* Over is 4-1 in Bruins’ last five games overall.
* Bruins are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. a team with a winning record.EXTRA POINTS:
1. USC leads the series 46-28-7, but UCLA has an 8-7 edge in games played at the Rose Bowl.
2. A victory would allow Mora to match Terry Donahue (nine in 1976) for most wins by a first-year UCLA coach.
3. USC’s McDonald is the older brother of UCLA sophomore safety Tevin McDonald. Their father, Tim, is a former USC All-American and NFL Pro Bowl safety.