Louisville vs. USC odds, props, & predictions: Undermanned Trojans face uphill battle against Cardinals in Holiday Bowl

The Louisville Cardinals will try to end the season on a high note with a win over the USC Trojans in the DIRECTV Holiday Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The transfer portal and opt-outs hit both teams hard, but the show must go on.

Louisville opened as a 7.5-point favorite, and the current line is . Let’s look at the odds, analysis, and predictions for the Holiday Bowl.

Louisville vs. USC: Point spread, moneyline, & total

Here are live college football betting odds for Louisville vs. USC:

Louisville betting trends and news

  • Louisville was 10-3 SU and 6-7 ATS; the OVER was 6-6-1.
  • They ended the season losing their last two, SU and ATS.
  • Head coach Jeff Brohm is 5-1 in bowl games, including a win over Cincinnati in the Fenway Bowl last season, 24-7.
  • The Cardinals were favored in all three losses this season; one was at home, away, and at a neutral site.
  • Offense: Total yards— No. 42, 419.3 ypg; rushing yards— No. 45, 175.3 ypg; passing yards— No. 52, 244 ypg; scoring—No. 44, 30.9 ppg
  • Defense: Total yards allowed— No. 16, 307.4 ypg; rushing yards allowed—No. 12, 102 ypg; passing yards allowed—No. 38, 205.4 ypg; scoring—No. 22, 19.7 ppg  
  • The offense will be without its leading rusher and wide receiver (transfer portal)

USC betting trends and news

  • USC was 7-5 SU and 3-9 ATS; OVER was 9-3.
  • After starting the season 6-0, they went 1-5 in the year’s second half.
  • Lincoln Riley is 1-4 in bowl games, but (to be fair) three of those losses were in the CFP.
  • 11 of 12 games had a TOTAL of 60+ with four of 70+ points (OVER was 2-2).
  • Offense: Total yards— No. 11, 469.7 ypg; rushing yards— No. 89, 139.9 ypg; passing yards— No. 5, 329.8 ypg; scoring—No. 4, 41.8 ppg
  • Defense: Total yards allowed— No. 120, 438.8 ypg; rushing yards allowed—No. 113, 183.7 ypg; passing yards allowed—No. 115, 255.2 ypg; scoring—No. 121, 34.9 ppg  
  • The offense will be without its starting quarterback and its leading rusher and wide receiver.
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Players opting out/entering the transfer portal ahead of DIRECTV Bowl

  • Louisville’s notable losses:
    • RB Jawhar Jordan
    • WR Jamari Thrash
    • EDGE Kameron Wilson
  • USC’s notable losses:
    • QB Caleb Williams
    • RB MarShawn Lloyd
    • WR Brenden Rice
    • CB Domani Jackson

Louisville vs. USC: Holiday Bowl props

Louisville vs. USC passing touchdowns props

  • Jack Plummer O/U 1.5 passing touchdowns
  • Miller Moss O/U 1.5 passing touchdowns

Jack Plummer may have lost his best wide receiver to the transfer portal, but he’ll benefit from going up against one of the worst defenses in the nation (which was decimated by the transfer portal).

He did not throw a touchdown pass against FSU but had 2+ in the previous three.

Miller Moss is a redshirt sophomore making his first start. He attempted 32 passes this season, completing 23 for 309 yards and a touchdown.

A former 4-star prospect, Moss will be working in an offense missing several key pieces.

Louisville vs. USC anytime touchdown scorer odds

  • Isaac Guerendo (-225)
  • Austin Jones (-160)
  • Maurice Turner (-140)
  • Ahmari Huggins-Bruce (+100)
  • Tahj Washington (+150)
  • Joey Gatewood (+165)
  • Jack Plummer (+190)
  • Jimmy Calloway (+190)
  • Dorian Singer (+195)
  • Zachariah Branch (+210)

During the regular season, the USC defense allowed 21 rushing touchdowns and 31 passing. With Thrash out, Louisville does not have a proven receiving threat.

But Chris Bell was second on the team in receptions (26) next to Thrash; Kevin Coleman finished third with 23 receptions.

Brenden Rice may have led USC in touchdowns, but Tahj Washington led the team in yards and receptions. With Rice out, Washington should see the ball more in the red zone.

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Louisville vs. USC analysis

It is hard to say whether the expectations for this game would be any different if it occurred during the regular season. 

In the season’s first half, the Trojans scored 6-0, 42+ ppg, and Caleb Williams threw 22 of his 30 touchdown passes. But then he only had eight touchdown passes in the final six, the offense got sloppy, and the defense went from bad to worse.

  • Notre Dame forced five turnovers.
  • Utah controlled the ball for over 34 minutes.
  • Washington ran for 316 yards.
  • Bo Nix threw for 400+ yards and four touchdowns.
  • UCLA turned two turnovers into 14 points.

With the transfer portal and opt-outs decimating the offense and defense, fans must trust head coach Lincoln Riley and his staff. Every team preaches a ‘next man up’ mentality for this situation.

Fans will find out Wednesday if Riley and his staff recruited players who can step up and take advantage of the opportunity to play.

Of course, Louisville will also have losses since Jordan and Thrash opted out of the game. But having an experienced quarterback behind center will give the Cardinal offense the edge against a dreadful USC defense.

Louisville vs. USC Bets to consider

Louisville 

The Trojans are a shell of the team that went 6-0 to start the season. Lincoln Riley will work wonders with Miller Moss and have him throw the ball to Tahj Washington as much as possible. But the Cardinals are the more complete team and will easily win this game.

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Tahj Washington anytime touchdown odds ()

Tahj Washington to score 2+ touchdowns (+800 at FanDuel)

Moss will probably target Washington at least 20 times in this game. He’s the best player the Trojans have, and they’ll need him to have a big day just to make this game competitive. That is, assuming Moss can get him the ball.

Isaac Guerendo anytime touchdown ()

To score 2+ touchdowns (+370 at DraftKings)

He is the most experienced running back the Cardinals have with Jawhar Jordan out, so it would not be shocking if Louisville’s offense leaned on the senior running back to power the rushing attack against a terrible USC run defense.

However, the coaching staff may decide to see what it has in sophomore Maurice Turner and will have Turner split carries with Guerendo. 

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