Betting Insights: USC to Win the National Championship
John David Yonke
The USC Trojans are off to a torrid start under Lincoln Riley, sitting at 5-0 and looking like a force to be reckoned with out west. They’re drawing some love in the college football futures betting market at BetMGM Sportsbook, where the Trojans have taken some steam to win the 2022 National Championship.
Is that a realistic outcome for this season? Let’s take a look at the betting insights for USC:
National Championship Line Movement (Last Week, Current)
Ohio State +250 to +200
USC +1400 to +1100
Michigan +2500 to +2000
After struggling to find a rhythm early, the Trojans ultimately thumped the Arizona State Sun Devils in Week 5 by a final score of 42-25. This moved USC to a perfect 5-0 record, including a 2-0 mark in conference play.
The book and bettors liked what they saw, moving the Trojans’ National Championship futures odds from +1400 a week ago to +1100 at current.
Are the Trojans good enough to make a legitimate run?
USC’s offense has been superb, averaging 42.2 points per game, led by star quarterback Caleb Williams and dynamic receiver Jordan Addison. The offensive line is still a question mark, although they’ve graded out pretty well (eight-best in Havoc allowed) to start the year.
The defense is in question, as the Trojans rank just 107th in Success Rate on that side of the ball, which is nowhere near what a playoff-caliber team should be. The rushing defense has been ghastly, ranking 127th in Rushing Predicted Points Added (PPA) and 114th in Rushing Success Rate.
They’ve relied primarily on forcing turnovers, which has worked so far (12 turnovers forced in five games) but is not always the most reliable game plan.
The door seems open for USC to make a run toward the playoff in a relatively open Pac-12 Conference, but the defense will need to make significant strides for that to be the case. The offense is as good as any in the country, and Williams gives Southern Cal an elite talent at the most crucial position, so there is hope.
A marquee showdown on the road against the Utah Utes awaits on October 15. It’s a game the Trojans would much rather have at home, but the Utes have yet to click fully. The rest of the games are manageable, although the two rivalry games (at UCLA and vs. Notre Dame) to close the year stand out as challenges.
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