USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Predictions, Odds, Picks

Oct. 23, 2021
Eytan Shander
VI Betting Expert

The historic rivalry between USC and Notre Dame is rekindled after a brief pause due to COVID-19. The Irish host the Trojans Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC at Notre Dame Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Score Prediction

Notre Dame 31, USC 20

Best Bet

Notre Dame -7


USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Predictions

The Irish certainly seem different on offense with a time share at QB, but it clearly hasn’t hurt them. Outside of losing to Cincinnati, there’s no discernible weak point for Notre Dame this year. They have a great matchup welcoming in a rival in USC. The Trojans are a different team when losing games – as they are 3-3 on the year – giving up over 40ppg. The split at QB for the Irish isn’t hurting their productivity.

Jack Coan will start, but Tyler Buchner is locked into the game plan. The Irish numbers are pedestrian at best – 137th in total offense and 113th in total defense. They do outmatch the Trojans in nearly every key battle, including the defensive line vs. USC’s front. Whoever the QB is will have plenty of time.

The Trojans haven’t been brutal but are just catching Notre Dame at the wrong time. USC QBKedon Slovis went down with injury a month ago – opening the door for freshman QB Jaxson Dart. It looks like Dart will see action against Notre Dame pending his own health. Whoever is behind center for the Trojans has the easiest job in the country. Just throw it to Drake London. The USC WR’s standout ability is the only thing keeping the Trojans in this game.

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USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Odds

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Notre Dame is a 7-point home favorite against USC. Both teams are 3-3 ATS this season.

The total for this game is 58 points. The combined O/U for both teams is 7-4-1.

USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Pac-12 vs. Independent
  • Date: Saturday, October 23, 2021
  • Venue: Notre Dame Stadium
  • Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
  • TV-Time: NBC - 7:30 p.m. ET

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USC Trojans Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-3
  • ATS: 3-3
  • O/U: 3-2-1
  • ATS - Home: 1-3
  • ATS - Away: 2-0

London is playing like the best WR in the nation and helping any QB throwing him the football. Slovis has benefited the most, but this is all about London dominating. He leads the Trojans passing attack with 832 rec yards and five TDs. That’s over half of Slovis’ 1519 passing yards and 9 passing TDs.

London can’t do it alone and unfortunately can’t play defense. USC is 133 rd overall on defense, just ahead of Notre Dame. The difference is in the pass rush, where the Trojans won’t be able to get past the Irish OL.

Good news for USC is they got an extra week to prepare coming off a bye. The bad news is two weeks ago they looked like a doormat for Utah.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 5-1
  • ATS: 3-3
  • O/U: 4-2
  • ATS - Home: 1-2
  • ATS - Away: 2-1

We know the Irish are going to try and get Buchner involved, but that won’t impact play calling when Coan is on the field. Coan is still good for over 1200 yards passing and a 10:3 TD-to-INT ratio.

Kyren Williams is their clear option at RB with 370 yards but just 3.9 YPR. Buchner is the team’s second-leading rusher in just four games. Michael Mayer helps pace the Irish passing attack as the TE leads all receivers with 360 yards.

He’s one of three to have over 300 yards receiving plus over 11 YPC. Coan – and Buchner – should have some time to work the offense, giving the Irish a big edge at home. Don’t expect USC’s defense to travel, safe to say they miss the flight.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won 21 of their last 24 games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - USC Trojans

  • Record: 3-3
  • VI Ranking: 76
  • Points Scored: 193
  • Points Allowed: 164
  • PS/G: 32.2 (42nd)
  • PA/G: 27.3 (79th)

Inside the Stats - Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Record: 5-1
  • VI Ranking: 15
  • Points Scored: 186
  • Points Allowed: 146
  • PS/G: 31 (47th)
  • PA/G: 24.3 (63rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • USC: Drake London - WR (64 catches, 832 yards, 5 TD)
  • USC: Keaontay Ingram - RB (74 carries, 419 yards, 3 TD)
  • ND: Kyren Williams - RB (96 carries, 363 yards, 4 TD)
  • ND: Michael Mayer - TE (32 catches, 360 yards, 3 TD)


  • USC: Josh Falo - TE (Arm-Questionable)
  • USC: Kenan Christon - RB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • USC: Brandon Campbell - RB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • USC: Kyle Ford - WR (Knee-Questionable)
  • USC: Drake Jackson - DL (Foot-Questionable)
  • USC: Ishmael Sopsher - DL (Leg-Questionable)
  • USC: Adonis Clay - CB (Wrist-Questionable)
  • USC: Kobe Pepe - DL (Shoulder-Questionable)
  • USC: Chris Thompson, Jr. - DB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • USC: Briton Allen - S (Knee-Out)
  • USC: Michael Trigg - TE (Leg-Out)
  • USC: Jaxson Dart - QB (Knee-Out)
  • USC: Bru McCoy - WR (Legal-Out)
  • ND: Paul Moala - LB (Achilles-Questionable)
  • ND: Tosh Baker - OL (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • ND: Kevin Bauman - TE (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • ND: Michael Carmody - OT (Ankle-Questionable)
  • ND: Chris Tyree - RB (Toe-Questionable)
  • ND: Tyler Buchner - QB (Ankle-Questionable)
  • ND: Prince Kollie - LB (Undisclosed-Questionable)
  • ND: Michael Mayer - TE (Undisclosed-Probable)
  • ND: Shayne Simon - LB (Shoulder-Out)
  • ND: Joe Wilkins - WR (MCL-Out)
  • ND: Cane Berrong - TE (ACL-Out)
  • ND: Blake Fisher - OL (Undisclosed-Out)
  • ND: Marist Liufau - LB (Lower Body-Out)

USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Conclusion

Maybe the Trojans have a shot if this game were at the Coliseum. Traveling to Indiana to upset this year’s Notre Dame team seems ambitious. What should bother you is that both teams seem insistent on using two QBs. What should stand out is that only one team truly needs to, which is always a higher chance for a backfire.

Buchner comes in for Coan and is an instant threat on the ground, justifying a different set of plays. Buchner averages 6.4 YPC. Dart can also move but doesn’t have anywhere near the sample size of Buchner.

If Dart plays, it will be at the expense of Slovis, as opposed to a more harmonious change with Notre Dame. Coan will be able to answer anything London and Slovis accomplish. The Trojans blink first and the Irish pull away.

USC Trojans vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Trends

  • Notre Dame has gone OVER in four of its last six games.
  • Notre Dame has failed to cover the spread in four of its last five home games.
  • USC has covered the spread in four of its last five road games.
  • USC has lost four of its last five games when facing Notre Dame.