USC vs. Notre Dame Odds: Trojans underdogs for first time in 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 26: Ajene Harris /

The odds for USC vs. Notre Dame have the Trojans billed as underdogs for the first time in 2017 with the annual rivalry game featuring two highly-ranked squads.

When No. 11 USC and No. 13 Notre Dame square off in South Bend this coming weekend, the Trojans will play as underdogs for the first time in a long time.

Oddsmakers opened the line for USC vs. Notre Dame at three points in favor of the Irish, per Sports Book Review. That’s the first underdog line for the Trojans since Washington was favored by nine over USC last year. Clay Helton’s team not only covered that spread, but pulled off an upset in Seattle, beating the Huskies outright.

Since home teams are typically spotted a three-point cushion, the line makes for a fairly even matchup between the rivals, though Notre Dame can claim another clear advantage over USC. The Irish are coming off a bye week while the Trojans will play their seventh consecutive game this weekend.

Both sides have started the 2017 season fairly strongly. USC is 6-1 on the year while Notre Dame stands at 5-1. Both have respectable losses to ranked teams, the Trojans falling to No. 15 Washington State and the Irish stumbling against No. 3 Georgia. The two also claim a victory over a ranked squad with USC besting No. 22 Stanford and Notre Dame beating No. 18 Michigan State.

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However, while the Irish have been strong against the spread, covering five out of six lines, the Trojans have struggled to live up to oddsmakers’ expectations.

USC moved to 1-6 against the spread with their one-point win over Utah, a 13-point underdog, on Saturday. The Trojans lone cover came against Stanford, winning by 18 points as a three-point favorite.

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The Trojans will also be fighting against the tide in recent history against the Irish. Though USC won last year’s matchup in impressive fashion, the men of Troy have not gone to South Bend and won since 2011. Of course, both games since that day were coached by interim managers shortly after Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were fired in 2013 and 2015 respectively.