USC vs. UCLA: College football betting lines, odds, spread and how to watch

Kyle Philips scores a touchdown on a punt return during UCLA's win over Colorado on Nov. 13.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

As the Rams limp into their bye week, USC comes back from an unexpected week off after its game against California was rescheduled for Dec. 4. We’ll see if the week of practice and a chance to refocus for the last three games of the season will give the Trojans new life for Saturday’s game against UCLA.

This rivalry dates to 1929, when USC won the inaugural game 76-0. The Victory Bell was introduced in 1939 and the victor took ownership of the bell starting in 1942. Overall, USC leads 51-32-7 and has won five of the last six meetings as we get ready for kickoff at the Coliseum.

UCLA (-3.5, 65.5) at USC, 1 p.m., FOX

The Bruins are favored on the road in this rivalry for the first time since 2001. UCLA was -3.5 in that game as well and the end result was a 27-0 USC victory. We’ll see if history ends up repeating itself, but this is the third time in four years that neither team has been ranked for the head-to-head matchup. The last time that happened was 2010.

In that 2001 meeting, the USC defense held UCLA to 114 yards of offense. That won’t happen with this year’s Trojans defense. Since 2004, the under is 12-5 between these teams, but the over has hit each of the last three years with 61, 87 and 81 points scored in this game.

These two offenses are pretty close in yards per play, as USC has managed 6.06 and UCLA 5.92. The gap in offensive yards per play is because of play selection. UCLA entered this week in the top 20 in rushing attempts, while USC is in the top 20 in passing attempts. Defensively, UCLA has allowed 5.65 YPP and USC has given up 6.21. The Trojans rank in the bottom 30 nationally.

Can two quarterbacks add juice to this year’s USC-UCLA football game? Will Chip Kelly lose his job if the Bruins can’t beat the struggling Trojans?


Keep in mind, though, that USC’s numbers are mostly with Drake London. The Trojans managed just 4.33 yards per play in the loss to Arizona State without the potential first-round pick. Jaxson Dart will make his first start for the Trojans and he’s been reliant on London in his appearances, including the wide receiver’s 13 catches for 170 yards in the Washington State win.

Any questions about the health of Dorian Thompson-Robinson were put to bed in the win over Colorado. The Bruins started slow, but DTR threw for 257 yards and ran for 99 more, as UCLA racked up six yards per carry and five rushing touchdowns on the Buffaloes defense. Colorado’s rush defense is worse than USC’s, but the Trojans have had plenty of issues stopping the run.

Even with some extra prep and recovery time for any players who were battered and bruised, this doesn’t look like a good matchup for a USC team that has huge, sweeping changes on the horizon and will be missing its best offensive player yet again.

Pick: UCLA -3.5

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