The California Golden Bears host #24 USC Trojans on Saturday in a conference clash. USC suffered a shocking upset loss to Utah, 34-32, last week, their second defeat in a row. The Trojans are clinging to a top-25 spot, so they need a statement win on Saturday. Cal’s last loss also came at the hands of the Utah Utes, and last week they had a bye.
The Golden Bears are just 1-3 in conference games, and 3-4 overall, while USC enters with a 4-1 Pac-12 record and a 6-2 overall record. USC is 8-2 in the last ten meetings versus Cal, and they’ll be desperate to snap their two-game skid.
Will the Trojans bounce back, or will they endure another upset loss on Saturday?
— USC Football ✌️ (@uscfb) October 22, 2023
|USC||-10.5 (-110)||Over 66.5 (-110)||-417|
|California||+10.5 (-110)||Under 66.5 (-110)||+320|
Odds Courtesy of Caesars, subject to change*
- Fixture: #24 USC vs California
- Date and Time: October 28, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. EST
- Location: California Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA
- Weather Forecast: Clear, 67 degrees
USC comes in ranked fourth in the nation in yards per play, and a lot of credit has to go to reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams. Even though they’ve stumbled in the past two games, this is still a stacked offense, which ranks ninth in passing yards per game and 11th in total yards per game. Their run game is excellent too, averaging 5.5 yards per rush, even though they don’t run the ball too often compared to other schools.
Defensively, the Trojans haven’t played up to expectations, and their run defense, or lack thereof, has been concerning. Last week they allowed 249 yards on the ground, the third time an opponent has totaled 200 team rushing yards. Considering that the league average is around 150 per game, this is an area that USC must improve in the latter half of the season.
On defense, the Golden Bears are stellar versus the run, but their pass defense is where they’ve had issues. They impressively held Utah to just 128 passing yards, but overall this has been a weakness. They’re above average against the run, but teams know they can exploit Cal’s passing defense.
Offensively, Cal averages 406 total yards, which ranks 57th in the country. They’re one of the better rushing teams in the Pac-12, but they’re near the bottom in passer rating, passing yards, and passing yards per attempt. USC’s run defense hasn’t been great, so expect the hosts to run the ball down their throat.
Both schools have failed to cover each of their past five matchups, but for the most part, USC hasn’t even come close to covering. They’ll be desperate to make a statement win on Saturday, but Cal should be able to move the ball downfield via their run game. As a result, a lot of time should come off the clock and this should remain a somewhat close game. Back the Golden Bears to at least cover at home.
Pick: California +10.5 (-110)
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About the Author
Lucas Abrenica has worked as a sports betting writer for over three years, with the aim of helping both experienced and casual sports bettors in their decision-making. He uses his own personal background as a bettor to help guide the information and advice in his articles.