For the first time under Chip Kelly, UCLA (6-4) is bowl eligible. While that may cause the rumors about his future with the program to die down slightly, a win over in-city rivals USC (4-5) would instill perhaps even more faith. A loss? Not so much.
It’s been a lost year for the Trojans, but a bowl is still within reach. Will they be able to inch one step close to bowl eligibility as they turn to true freshman Jaxson Dart at quarterback?
Read our full picks and predictions for the UCLA Bruins vs. the USC Trojans on Saturday, November 20, to find out.
UCLA vs USC odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
The spread has remained steady since the opener at UCLA -3 across most books. The total also hasn’t budged from the opener at 65.5.
UCLA vs USC predictions
Predictions made on 11/18/2021 at 7:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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UCLA vs USC game info
• Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
• Date: Saturday, November 20, 2021
• Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
• TV: FOX
UCLA vs USC betting preview
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.
UCLA: Chase Griffin QB (Questionable), Brittain Brown RB (Questionable), Alec Anderson OL (Questionable), Datona Jackson DL (Questionable), Martell Irby DB (Questionable)
USC: Kedon Slovis QB (Out), Keaontay Ingram RB (Questionable), Cortland Ford OL (Probable), Drake London WR (Out), John Jackson III WR (Questionable), Michael Trigg TE (Questionable), Kobe Pepe DL (Questionable), Jamar Sekona DL (Questionable), Nick Figueroa DL (Questionable), Ishmael Sopsher DL (Questionable)
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Trojans are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games. Find more NCAA betting trends for UCLA vs. USC.
UCLA vs USC picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
The Bruins may be 6-4, but their four losses have come against teams with a combined 31-10 record. Put another way, all four of the teams to beat the Bruins have at least seven wins. They’re slightly outgaining opponents on a per-play basis (6.1 offensively, 5.7 defensively). Compare that with the Trojans, who are being outgained (6.1 offensively, 6.3 defensively), and it suggests the Bruins have been the slightly better team in 2021.
UCLA has been a profitable team, sitting at 6-4 ATS. The Trojans, meanwhile, have been consistently overvalued in the betting market and have an ugly 3-6 ATS record. Things have only gotten worse as the season’s gone along — USC is 0-4 ATS in its last four games overall.
The Bruins should be able to have success with what they do best — running the football. Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet leads a dynamic ground attack ranked 21st nationally with 209.4 yards per game. The Trojans were gashed for an unseemly 291 rushing yards and four scores in their last game against Arizona State. Expect UCLA to move the ball all night long.
USC lost its best player a few weeks ago when Drake London went down for the season with a fractured right ankle against Arizona. That’s a bigger loss than some people may realize — London was the top receiver in the country and this entire offense was centered around his enormous talent.
It’s been a rudderless season for USC. Clay Helton was fired after only two games, and now its star player is out for the year. At least it’s evident that UCLA has been making improvements.
Prediction: UCLA -3 (-110)
Both offenses will enjoy the advantage of having their strength match up with the opponent’s weakness. We mentioned earlier that UCLA looks to establish the run with Zach Charbonnet (864 yards, 11 TDs). They should have success doing so against a Trojans defense that has allowed monster games to a few opponents (322 rushing yards on 6.3 yards per carry for Oregon State, 291 yards and four scores for Arizona State).
USC should also be able to put points on the board against a beatable UCLA secondary. We know that the Trojans want to throw the ball in Graham Harrell’s Air Raid-esque offensive system. The Bruins are surrendering 267.2 passing yards per game, 114th in the country.
Trojans starting quarterback Kedon Slovis will miss the game due to injury, leaving true freshman Jaxson Dart the keys to the kingdom. Frankly, we view this as an upgrade — Dart has shown enormous potential in limited playing time (391 yards, 4 TDs against Washington State in his first collegiate game).
Prediction: Over 65.5 (-110)
Both teams should be able to establish their identity on offense. UCLA will be motivated to pile on the points against a vulnerable rival, while USC will look to build Dart’s confidence as the quarterback of the future with a big game against a poor secondary.
The Over is 4-0 in the Trojans’ last four home games, and we see little evidence that trend is going to be broken Saturday night.
Pick: Over 65.5 (-110)
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