The rivalry continues, as does the battle for the Victory Bell. The UCLA Bruins (4-6) will head across town to the Memorial Coliseum to face the USC Trojans (7-4) on Saturday.
A win would be huge for Chip Kelly and UCLA; it would keep their playoff hopes alive. USC have won four of their last five and are 6-2 in the conference. They need to win this game and get a little help from Utah (Utah would have to lose to Arizona or Colorado) in order to win the Pac-12 South and have a shot at playing in the title game. So who will emerge victorious in this one? Here’s a preview of both teams, followed by game trends and our prediction.
The Trojans are looking to win their third straight, and they’ll be led by freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis, who has had a solid first year under center. Slovis has 2,727 yards passing and 24 touchdowns on the season. He also has nine interceptions, so UCLA could have a few chances if their secondary plays strong.
He’ll be throwing to a standout freshman in Drake London, who is coming off his first ever 100-yard receiving game last week against Cal.
On defense, the Trojans are giving up just over 27 points and over 403 total yards a game. They will need to buckle down against a UCLA team that is scoring over 26 points per contest.
The Bruins have a losing record overall–but they have a winning record in the Pac 12 (they’re 4-3). Chip Kelly has seen his team improve incrementally over the past few seasons, and while they haven’t been strong defensively this year, (they’re giving up over 33 points per contest) they have showed promise on offense.
On offense, UCLA will be led by sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Robinson has 2,056 yards passing with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, but he’s coming off one of his worst games. Robinson threw two picks last week against Utah, and he’ll have to do better in a game where the rival Bruins should certainly be bringing it, with playoff hopes and bragging rights as motivation.
Trends, Pick and Prediction:
Spread: UCLA +14
Over/Under: 65.5 points
Odds Shark currently have the Trojans winning the game by a projected score of 35-21, with UCLA covering the spread and the total score going under.
The following relevant trends surrounding the game are courtesy of Odds Shark:
• UCLA is 5-10 SU in their last 15 games.
• The Bruins are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against Southern California.
• UCLA is 5-15 SU in their last 20 games against Southern California.
• The Bruins are 3-17 SU in their last 20 games on the road.
• The Trojans are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games.
• The total has gone OVER in 4 of Southern California’s last 5 games.
• USC is 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.
• The total has gone UNDER in 10 of USC’s last 13 games against UCLA.
We’re with Odds Shark all the way on this one. We’ll take the Bruins with the points, but USC should win a hard fought battle at home.
Final Prediction: USC 34, UCLA 24