The USC Trojans host the Utah Utes in one of the better PAC-12 showdowns this Saturday.
After being left for dead following the firing of coach Clay Helton, the Trojans have responded by going 2-1 in PAC-12 play.
Utah, meanwhile, has struggled out of the gates for the second year in a row and sits at 2-2 on the season, but is 1-0 in conference play after beating Washington State last week. Will the Utes be able to notch a win over USC and compete in the PAC-12 race, or will the home team's dominance in this series continue?
Find out with our free college football picks and predictions for Utah vs. USC on October 9.
Utah vs USC odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
USC opened -4, but the line has been bet down to -3 as of late Thursday afternoon. The total has gone the other way, opening at 51/51.5 at most books but is now up to 52.5. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.
Utah vs USC picks
Picks made on 10/7/2021 at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Utah vs USC game info
• Location: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
• Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021
• Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
• TV: FOX
Utah vs USC betting preview
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.
Utah: Micah Bernard RB (Questionable), Brandon McKinney S (Questionable), Cole Bishop S (Questionable), Vonte Davis S (Questionable).
USC: Jaxson Dart QB (Questionable), Kenan Christon RB (Questionable), Josh Falo TE (Questionable), Frank Martin II OL (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The home team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these two schools. Find more NCAA betting trends for Utah vs. USC.
Utah vs USC predictions
USC -3 (-110)
It sure does feel ugly picking USC at this point in time, doesn’t it? The Trojans appeared to be in no man's land after firing Helton two games into the season but have rebounded with a 2-1 record in the aftermath of the news.
They blew out Washington State and Colorado by a combined score of 82-28, with both impressive wins coming on the road. The loss to Oregon State has aged well, as the Beavers have won four straight and made their name known as surprising darkhorse PAC-12 contenders.
The Utes, meanwhile, appear to be struggling for a second straight season. They haven’t had an impressive performance to date in 2021, as their only two wins are against FCS school Weber State and a 24-13 nail-biter over Washington State in which they trailed by a field goal entering the fourth quarter.
Utah is typically strong in the trenches, but the Utes have been outrushed in both of their losses (BYU, San Diego State).
Unless Utah can dominate the line of scrimmage and run the ball on USC, it is likely to face a stiff test here on the road. USC has the best offensive player in this game in Drake London, who is arguably the top wide receiver in the nation at this point in time. Over his last three games, London has put up a ridiculous line of 32 catches for 465 yards and three touchdowns. He provides a go-to option offensively that Utah simply can’t match.
The home team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between those two schools, and one of those losses came in 2020 when the Utes fell 33-17 at home to the Trojans.
Utah is 0-4 ATS on the season, and it’ll be hard to back them until it shows signs of life
Over 52.5 (-110)
Let’s start with the Utah offense. It has struggled to find any answers in the passing game, benching initial starting quarterback Charlie Brewer after a few lackluster performances only to have him immediately transfer out of the program. Cameron Rising has been thrust into the starting role and has struggled to date, too.
But the passing game isn't what makes the Utes tick — this is first and foremost a running team. If we exclude the matchup against a tough San Diego State front seven in Week 3, the Utes have averaged 199 rushing yards per game on 6.85 yards per attempt. That successful rushing attack should allow them to contribute to this Over against a USC defense that allowed 322 rushing yards to Oregon State only two weeks ago.
USC, on the other hand, has so much talent offensively that it should be able to contribute its fair share of points. The Trojans averaging 33.4 points per game this season and haven't scored below 27 — they’ve been remarkably consistent in that aspect. The Kedon Slovis to London connection alone should be enough to get them on the scoreboard in any PAC-12 game.
These two schools have combined for fewer than 52.5 points only once in the last six matchups, and that came a year ago when they combined for 50. Back the Over again.
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