USC plays host to UCLA in the battle for Los Angeles bragging rights. The Trojans have owned the rivalry of late by winning two straight and five of the last six, but the Bruins are favored in the college football odds to ring the Victory Bell this time.
For the first 59 minutes, 44 seconds of last season’s engagement, USC bettors were never covering as a 3½-point favorite. That all changed when the Trojans scored on an 8-yard pass with 16 ticks remaining in a 43-38 triumph that also marked USC’s second straight win against the spread over UCLA. The game went over 65 when the Trojans took a 36-35 lead with 8:09 to play.
Next game: vs. California
UCLA started slowly as an 18-point favorite against Colorado before getting the job done 44-20 as predicted here. The Bruins trailed 20-7 in the second quarter and were never covering the number until they returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown with 10:10 remaining, The extra point provided the final score. The Buffaloes could only reach the UCLA 48-yard line after that. The game was sitting on the 57 total until the game-sealing return.
Running back Brittain Brown did not practice Wednesday with an undisclosed injury. The senior has rushed for 606 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Defensive lineman Datona Jackson was a full participant Wednesday after working out intermittently since the Colorado game. The senior has 3½ sacks in 2021.
Next game: vs No. 14 BYU
USC was playing the underdog role well by covering the 9½-point spread for all but the final 1:58. That’s when Arizona State broke the Trojan bettors’ hearts by scoring a touchdown with the extra point, providing the 31-16 final. The Trojans moved 23 yards to their own 48 before throwing an interception at the Sun Devils’ 34 with 57 seconds left. Under players scored an easy 15-point victory.
Interim coach Donte Williams said freshman quarterback Jaxson Dart will start with junior signal-caller Kedon Slovis suffering from a leg injury. Tight end Michael Trigg could return. The freshman hasn’t played since Oct. 9 because of a knee injury. He has seven catches for 109 yards and a touchdown.
Betting on the Game
Players backed the Bruins enough to move the line up one-half point early in the week before it returned to its current number the next day. The total has remained the same. Dart starting over Slovis isn’t a needle-mover when betting online. Over players may have to be patient in this one. USC is No. 9 nationally in fourth-quarter scoring while UCLA is 11th. The Trojans have lost four straight in the college football spreads, twice as an underdog. The Bruins have taken advantage of teams with a losing record, going 6-0 ATS in such games. Also, the Trojans are 0-4 ATS in their last four at home with the game going over each time.
Rivalries can be tough to call in the world of Las Vegas odds, but all signs point to a high-scoring game. UCLA will need junior running back Zach Charbonnet to carry a great majority of the load with Brown expected to miss the game. Charbonnet has rushed for 11 touchdowns. Dart gets his first taste in a high-pressure game against the cross-town rivals, and could be a bit up and down. The Bruins, meanwhile, have senior Dorian Thompson-Robinson under center.Thompson-Robinson threw seven touchdown passes and ran for another against USC in the last two meetings. He can be the difference-maker for UCLA.