- Levi’s Stadium plays host to the PAC-12 Championship game on Friday
- The Trojans are field goal favorites in the Utah vs USC odds
- Read below for our PAC-12 Championship pick this weekend
After an incredibly entertaining November of college football, that started with what we thought could be a National Championship preview in Tennessee vs Georgia and ended with Michigan’s drubbing of Ohio State, we have a pretty uneventful conference championship weekend. Quite frankly, Friday night may likely decide whether anything will matter on Saturday. So let’s get into the Utah vs USC odds.
The Trojans have quite a lot to play for, a win here will all but secure their College Football Playoff spot. A loss will certainly muddy the waters, with the potential of Ohio State, who is sitting on the sidelines on championship weekend, overtaking them. Meanwhile, the Utes are looking for back-to-back PAC-12 Championships and another berth in the Rose Bowl.
Utah vs USC Odds
|Utah Utes||+130||+2.5 (-105)||O 68 (-110)|
|USC Trojans||-155||-2.5 (-115)||U 68 (-110)|
Odds courtesy of BetMGM!
Maryland sports betting markets have been bouncing between the key number of -3 and -2.5 in favor of USC. The Trojans have been a popular bet for college sports bettors so far this week. After a 43-42 final in favor of Utah earlier this season, the game total is up a point from it’s opener at 67.
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Utes are Underdogs in PAC-12 Championship Game
We have previous data from both of these teams that shows us Utah may be the better team, but they’re underdogs here. When you look back on what the Utes did well in that game, I think it came down to one major thing. Taking care of the football. USC is third in the nation in takeaways per game, averaging 2.2 this season. The Utes turned it over just once back in week 7.
The other major advantage Utah has over pretty well every other opponent the Trojans have faced this season is the talent in their secondary. It’s a tall task for anyone to keep up with Mario Williams and Jordan Addison, the Utes can do that. The trio of Clark Phillips, JaTravis Broughton and Zemaiah Vaughn at corner is amongst the best in CFB. The key to slowing down Caleb Williams is generating pressure, if the Utes can trust their secondary in man-to-man then they can blitz more often and disrupt Williams rhythm.
Offensively, the Utes don’t look like the same team they did back in week 7 in Salt Lake City. Cam Rising has had matchups with Arizona, Stanford, Oregon and Colorado since then, who are arguably the worst secondary’s in the PAC-12, and he did not exceed 250 passing yards in any of those games. I know he’s playing through injury, nearly everyone is this time of year, he will be the X-factor if Utah wants to spoil the Trojans CFP hopes.
USC Looking to Cash Ticket to College Football Playoff
There’s few hotter teams in the country right now than Lincoln Riley’s Trojans. They also seem to be getting healthier at the right time, with both Mario Williams and Jordan Addison able to handle a full workload against Notre Dame last weekend. Caleb Williams may have already punched his Heisman Trophy ticket regardless of the result on Friday night.
I mentioned the Trojans ability to force turnovers, but without it they have been a pretty paltry unit. Against the pass they’re allowing QB’s to complete 64.5% of their passes and average 7.8 yards per attempt, which ranks 98th in the nation. They also rank 120th in EPA/rush allowed, giving up the highest explosive play rate on designed rushes in the FBS.
Caleb Williams now has 34 Pass TD and 10 Rush TD this season, becoming just the second player in Pac-12 history with 30 touchdowns in the air and 10 on the ground in a single season.
The other was Marcus Mariota in 2014, when he won the Heisman Trophy. pic.twitter.com/HxnbDQIp81
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 27, 2022
I can’t say enough about how good this USC offensive attack is, Williams is playing absolutely out of his mind right now. He’s averaging 9.6 yards per attempt and he hasn’t thrown an interception under pressure or when blitzed this season. His ability to create plays on the run is truly special. His playmaking ability has allowed the run game to flourish as well. Even with the loss of Travis Dye, Austin Jones was able to step in and rip off 154 yards on 25 carries against Notre Dame in week 13.
PAC-12 Championship Pick
If you like the matchup for Utah, there’s no need to rush to your BetMGM app and place this one right away. As of the time of writing, BetMGM’s John Ewing is reporting 78% of spread tickets are on USC. So we could see this number bounce back to Trojans -3.
I do like the Utes in this one, I know Cam Rising has been struggling as of late but he can take care of the football. They should also be able to lean on Micah Bernard and the ground attack to keep the Trojans offense off the field as much as possible. Utah can control this game in the front four, both in their offensive and defensive line. That’s a scary thought for a USC team filled with name brand talent at the skill positions but not so much in the trenches.
Regardless of the loss of some key talent from 2021, this is a ‘been there, done that’ Utah team that isn’t afraid of the moment. You can find Utah +3 at DraftKings Sportsbook right now, so if you don’t want to wait you can head there.
Pick: Utah +3 (-115) at DraftKings Sportsbook