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USC

vs.

Notre Dame

College Football

Pick

Betting Trends

10/19/13

This game pales in comparison to ones we've seen in recent years between these teams. USC isn't fighting for a Pac-12 title and Notre Dame isn't undefeated and neither is aiming for the National Championship. Still, that doesn't mean this isn't going to be a good game. There's reason to look up for both schools and a win against a long-time rival won't hurt. The Fighting Irish are -3 point favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook.

Both teams are 4-2, both have had disappointing losses, one already fired a coach and the other lost its starting quarterback before the season started. There are plenty of story lines entering this game, but the most important one may be that both teams are coming off wins.

USC got a nice Thursday night win over Arizona last week, while Notre Dame took out the same Arizona State team that beat USC. It's going to be an interesting game to say the least. The Trojans defense isn't as good as we thought, but it was their offense that came through against the Wildcats. Notre Dame's defense also took a step back from last year, but the offense pulled through for 37 points against the Sun Devils.

Tommy Rees has played like everyone thought he would play in the first six games. He's struggled against better defenses, but looked decent against the weaker ones. His 51.7 completion percentage is ugly to look at, but the rest of his numbers aren't all that bad. If he has one of his bad games here, it's going to be difficult for Notre Dame to get the win. WRs TJ Jones (481 yards, four TDs) and DaVaris Daniels (385 yards, four TDs) have the advantage out wide, but will Rees get them the ball? The poor running game hasn't helped Rees at all. George Atkinson III and Cam McDaniel have just 582 yards between them and four touchdowns. There's not much Rees can do about that.

The Trojans have been up and down defensively for most of the year, and there will be openings if Notre Dame focuses on running the ball. This is not a game you want to put on Rees' shoulders.

The USC offense is controlled by the running game. Although, their leading rusher Tre Madden picked up a hamstring injury last Thursday and is questionable for this contest. The good news is that they still have Silas Redd and Justin Davis to help out. Redd saw the field for the first time in the Arizona win and he ended up with 19 carries for 80 yards. Wide receiver Marqise Lee missed that game, but hopes to play in this one. If Madden and Lee both miss this game, it's going to be tough on QB Cody Kessler. He only completed 50 percent of his passes last week without Lee and now has to go on the road. Nelson Agholor stepped into Lee's role in that game and went for 161 yards and a TD, but asking him to do that again may be a stretch.

Notre Dame lost another defensive starter against ASU, this time it's starting linebacker Jarrett Grace. That will only open up more holes for the USC running game.

There aren't many trends to look at in this series, except for the under going 5-1 in the last six games. The road team has won four straight matchups, including last year's 22-13 win for the Fighting Irish. Their 222 rushing yards won them the game. It may be the opposite this year as USC has the better rushing game.

The Trojans have not covered in nine straight road games, while the Fighting Irish are just 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine home games. If USC can get Marqise Lee back, the line may move a bit in their favor.

Both of these teams have long been public betting favorites and the trends at sportsbook.com reflect that as the action is fairly balanced with the Irish drawing 56% of the betting action.

These two teams are very evenly matched. Our model has USC on top by a nose so while not a Key Release, we're going to side with the Trojans here and take the points. USC +3

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