The storied USC football team finished 4-8 last season, fired its head coach, lost its two best quarterbacks (both touted recruits), and saw arguably the nation's top receiver leave school early for the NFL Draft. Yet, the Trojans are set at Over/Under 9 wins for the 2022 college football season and have attracted the most money from bettors over the past month at Caesars Sportsbook to win the national title.
There's little question that USC upgraded on Clay Helton at head coach by luring offensive mastermind Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to Los Angeles with a mammoth contract. While quarterbacks Kedon Slovis (among last year's early Heisman favorites) and Jaxson Dart have transferred out, former Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams transferred in, and he was magical at times as a freshman last year under Riley with the Sooners. Williams is a +1000 third favorite to win the Heisman.
All-American receiver Drake London is now with the Atlanta Falcons, but Riley replaced him with 2021 Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh. Addison caught 100 passes for 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns last season in being named first-team All-American. Riley also brought in two other talented transfers at the position in Oklahoma's Mario Williams, a freshman All-American last year, and Colorado's Brenden Rice, the son of some guy named Jerry Rice. 247Sports ranks the Trojans as the clear winners of the offseason transfer portal.
About a month ago, USC was +3500 to win the national title. It is now +2500 after taking 22 percent of all money since then to win the College Football Playoff at Caesars. The Trojans are also third in total tickets at 10 percent, trailing Alabama (16 percent) and LSU (12 percent).
Backers are split on USC's win total, however. It was originally set at 9.5 but is down to 9.0. The Trojans are the only program where both the Over and the Under have received at least $2,000 in wagers. USC's Over has gotten the eighth-most dollars among all teams, but the Trojans' Under has gotten the seventh-most of all Unders.
Southern Cal should be 6-0 when it visits defending Pac-12 champion Utah on Oct. 15. That might be the only time the Trojans are underdogs all season in conference play – if they even are. The Trojans will be double-digit home favorites in non-conference games against Rice and Fresno State, but the season finale in LA vs. Notre Dame could go either way spread-wise as the Irish are expected to be quite good again.
Utah and USC are each +200 to win the Pac-12. Both were in the same South Division, but the conference has done away with divisions, so they could face off in the Pac-12 title game. The title contest now will feature the two teams with the highest conference winning percentage.
Oregon from the "North Division" – schedules are still set up as they would have been with divisions this year – is the +300 third favorite and hosts Utah but doesn't play USC. That's a break for the Trojans. Oregon's top running back last year was Travis Dye. He'll now be playing for Riley at USC.
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