Lincoln Riley shook the axis of power in West Coast football when he decided to relocate from Norman, Oklahoma, to Southern California. Big things are expected from the USC Trojans despite bottoming out at 4-8 a season ago.
They have an over/under win total of 9.5 in college football betting.
Riley brought in several high-impact transfers that have many believing the program can compete for PAC-12 championships, and possibly even national championships, immediately. Is that a realistic expectation?
Lincoln Riley on adding Jordan Addison to this offense:
"We've still only had 10 practices with him. I think we're still figuring out him, his intricacies and how he fits. But he's an impressive kid. He's a very consistent worker and he's a playmaker."https://t.co/yyOMA75vg6 pic.twitter.com/jlndP5kiE9
— TrojanSports.com (@USC_Rivals) August 16, 2022
Let’s dive into the odds. Here’s a look at USC’s odds this season:
College Football Outright Winner +2000
USC has the fifth-shortest odds to take home the 2022-23 national championship. Considering only four teams make the playoff, there is an expectation that Riley and his squad can advance to the postseason and contend for a title immediately.
There is a wealth of talent on the roster, headlined by incoming transfers Caleb Williams (Oklahoma Sooners) at quarterback, Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison (Pittsburgh Panthers) at receiver, and running back Travis Dye (Oregon Ducks).
PAC-12 Winner +200
Lincoln Riley is only making a brief stop in the PAC-12 before the program becomes a part of the Big Ten. For 2022, the Trojans have the shortest odds in the conference.
They are followed by the reigning champions Utah Utes (+225) and the perenially tough Oregon Ducks (+300). USC has won only one PAC-12 championship since 2008, but bettors are showing a lot of faith in Riley.
Regular Season Wins – Over 9.5 (-115), Under 9.5 (-105)
The Trojans are the betting favorite to win the conference title, and they also have the highest regular season win total at 9.5. The Utes (9) and Ducks (8.5) yet again trail right behind.
The last time the Trojans reached double-digit wins in the regular season was the 2017 PAC-12 championship run led by quarterback Sam Darnold.
Strength of Schedule: 75th (78-73, 51.7%)
It’s not an overly demanding schedule for the Trojans, as their opponents combined for a record barely above .500 a year ago. They play the Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers, Utah Utes, Arizona Wildcats, and UCLA Bruins on the road while hosting the Rice Owls, Fresno State Bulldogs, Arizona State Sun Devils, Washington State Cougars, California Golden Bears, Colorado Buffaloes, and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Half of their opponents went bowling a year ago. The most difficult tests appear to be against Utah and Notre Dame, both ranked in the preseason top-10.
2021 Record: 4-8; ATS: 4-8; Returning Production: 94th
The Trojans were miserable in 2021. Head coach Clay Helton got fired just two games into the season after a miserable 42-28 loss to Stanford. Riley opted to overhaul the roster completely, bringing in several high-impact transfers to challenge the incumbent starters.
USC ranked just 94th in ESPN’s Bill Connelly’s returning production metric. That number figures to be mitigated with the arrival of 20 players via the transfer portal.
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