Holiday Bowl Prediction: Louisville vs. USC Odds, Spread, DFS Picks, and More

    Will Louisville or USC get one final win of the college football season? Step this way for the latest odds, DFS picks, and a Holiday Bowl prediction.

    The 2023 DIRECTV Holiday Bowl gives two teams who had disappointing ends to the regular season the chance to end the year on a high note, as the 10-3 Louisville Cardinals of the ACC face the 7-5 USC Trojans who play their final game as a Pac-12 team.

    Which team wins? Ahead of the game, we’ve got the latest college football betting odds, DFS picks, and a Holiday Bowl prediction.

    Holiday Bowl Betting and DFS Preview

    All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook and correct as of Saturday, Dec. 23, 2023. Want to take advantage of the Holiday Bowl odds? Visit the College Football Network live college football odds page to place bets in your state.

    • Spread
      Louisville -7.5
    • Moneyline
      Louisville -298, USC +240
    • Over/Under
      57.5 points
    • Game time
      8 p.m. ET
    • Location
      Petco Park, San Diego, CA
    • Predicted Weather at Kick
      67 degrees, 6 mph winds, some high cloud
    • How to Watch
      Fox, FuboTV

    Looking to cash in on the Cardinals this Wednesday night? Is betting on USC as easy as 1-2-3? If you’re going to take advantage of the Holiday Bowl odds, consider some of the following factors before you part with your hard-earned cash.

    It’s a first-ever matchup between Louisville and USC, and after reaching the ACC Championship Game, the Cardinals enter the Holiday Bowl as a favorite. Jeff Brohm’s team has lost three times this season already when favored, but the Trojans haven’t won as an underdog. With quarterback Caleb Williams opting out, that losing stretch might continue on Wednesday.

    Furthermore, the loss of their star playmaker might ensure another streak continues. USC has covered the spread just three times this season, and two of those occasions came within the first three games.

    Louisville hasn’t covered their last two games and failed to cover with a similar spread three times this year, but the Cardinals have the opportunity to win by more than a touchdown here.

    MORE: Top Transfer Portal Departures From the ACC

    Games involving USC have gone over the total points line nine times this season, but not for the last two games. Meanwhile, Louisville has leveled off at 6-6-1 covering the over after the ACC title game came well under the line.

    While the USC defense will likely give Louisville plenty of scoring opportunities, this game could go under the line if USC struggles to adapt to a new QB.

    Top DFS Picks and Fantasy Plays

    Louisville Depth Chart | USC Depth Chart

    • QB Jack Plummer, Louisville 
    • QB Miller Moss, USC
    • RB Jawhar Jordan, Louisville 
    • RB Isaac Guerendo, Louisville 
    • RB Maurice Turner, Louisville 
    • RB MarShawn Lloyd, USC
    • RB Austin Jones, USC
    • RB Quinten Joyner, USC
    • WR Jamari Thrash, Louisville 
    • WR Ahmari Huggins-Bruce, Louisville
    • WR Kevin Coleman, Louisville 
    • WR Tahj Washington, USC
    • WR Dorian Singer, USC
    • WR Duce Robinson, USC
    • TE Joey Gatewood, Louisville 
    • TE Lake McRee, USC

    There are four college football games on Wednesday from which to compile your DFS team. If you’re new to DFS, FanDuel Superflex contests require you to select a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, and a “Superflex” that can be any of the above or a tight end.

    USC backup quarterback Miller Moss will get his shot for the Trojans, but the program’s pursuit of Kansas State’s Will Howard tells you everything you need to know about the confidence level they have in Moss going forward. While he’s earned some praise from teammates for his preparation, your Holiday Bowl picks should probably not include the inexperienced USC quarterback.

    MORE: CFB Bowl Game Opt-Out Tracker

    Your picks should include Louisville running back Jawhar Jordan. USC has one of the worst rushing defenses in the country, and Jordan is one of the very best that there is at carrying the rock. His 221.4 fantasy points this season are more than any other active player in this game, and we feel comfortable in saying that you can rely on him to add to his 1,128 rushing yards and 14 total touchdowns this season.

    In addition to quarterback Williams, USC will be without their leading fantasy running back (MarShawn Lloyd) and receiver (Brenden Rice). At the time of writing, Tahj Washington appeares to be available to the Trojans. He leads the team in receptions and yards and could benefit from the absence of leading TD scorer Rice to boost his fantasy football output.

    Prediction for the Holiday Bowl

    Okay, so we’ve furnished you with the Holiday Bowl odds and some DFS picks. Now, it’s time to close this thing out with our prediction. Can USC leave their losing streak behind with a win over Louisville? Or will the Cardinals cruise to an 11th win of the season, putting a cap on their best campaign since 2013?

    There’s no hiding from how disappointing 2023 has been for USC. Considered a Pac-12 title contender and potential playoff team in the preseason, they slipped to a 7-5 record, losing three straight to close the year.

    There’s no hiding from the root cause of their dismal display this season: a downright dreadful defense.

    The Trojans ranked 125th in the nation for scoring defense, allowing an average of 34.9 points per game. Only Stanford allowed more passing touchdowns than USC this season, and the Trojans ranked 117th for passing yards allowed per game. They held the same rank for rushing yards conceded per game. Yet, somehow, it felt like they were even worse than that when you watched the team.

    One year ago, that same dodgy defense capitulated against Tulane in the bowl game, and there’s potential for a similar story brewing in the Holiday Bowl. Louisville running backs Jordan and Guerendo have both averaged more than 6.0 yards per carry this season while accounting for 21 rushing touchdowns. One of these two is going to have the Tyjae Spears performance from a year ago.

    Meanwhile, Louisville’s defense has been — give or take the odd game late in the year — the strength of the team. Ashton Gillotte is a dangerous penetrative force who leads the team with 14.5 tackles for loss and 11.0 sacks, while Quincy Riley and Devin Neal make any team think twice about throwing on them. The Cardinals should cruise to a win on the West Coast.

    Prediction: Louisville 31, USC 21

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football’s transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

    College Football Transfer Portal Tracker

    Never miss a beat with the CFN-exclusive College Football Transfer Portal Tracker, listing the student-athletes entering and exiting the transfer portal.

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