It’s one of college football’s glam matchups and bettors are throwing their weight behind the home team, despite a trend that has seen the road team win five of six.
It’s the annual Southern Cal vs Notre Dame clash, and alumni from each school, and the entire wagering universe, look forward to weighing in on the point spread, even as both team fall on hard times.
“It’s not the same excitement with neither team ranked in the Top 25 and neither team boasting a must-see Heisman Trophy candidate,” said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com, which provides football odds to NBCSports.com.
“But it’s still USC vs Notre Dame, so the sportsbooks are busy and the line has been moving.”
The Trojans opened as small 1.5-point underdogs, but money on the Irish had pushed the number to -3 by Thursday, according to books monitored by OddsShark.com. The site’s picks computer has produced a 29-26 upset prediction for USC.
Southern Cal is 4-2 and still has to battle UCLA and Stanford in Pac-12 play, reducing the Trojans to fringe BCS bowl consideration. The same is true for Notre Dame, a bland 4-2 team with likely losses pending against Utah and Stanford.
The Trojans had won eight straight meetings between 2002-09, before the Fighting Irish won two of the past three clashes. This is 85th edition of The Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh, as the rivalry is known.
USC owns edges in scoring, defense, rushing yards and several other key statistical categories in the matchup report. Notre Dame owns a slight per-game advantage in passing yardage.
The Trojans have won five straight at Notre Dame, part of an overall head-to-head trend that has seen the road team win five of six meetings.
Notre Dame is a far cry from the team that lost the BCS National Championship in January and will likely not reach double digits in wins.
USC stands at 1-2 in conference play and seem to be reeling from Lane Kiffin’s departure last month.