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Holiday Bowl Betting Preview: Louisville Cardinals vs. USC Trojans

December 27, 2023

The 15th-ranked Louisville Cardinals will face the USC Trojans in the 2023 Holiday Bowl on Wednesday, December 27th, in San Diego, California at Petco Park with the game kicking off at 8:00 PM ET on Wednesday night and will air on Fox.


Louisville enters this game ranked 15th in the College Football Playoff rankings and finished in 2nd place in the ACC with a record of 10-3, however, they lost in the ACC Championship game against the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 6-16 which was the fewest points scored this season by the Cardinals. The success of the Cardinals this season can be attributed to an above-average scoring team and an above-average scoring defense as they enter this game averaging 30.92 points per game while allowing 19.69 points per game which ranks 21st in college football. 


Jack Plummer played a pivotal role in the success the Cardinals had on offense this season as he enters this game having completed 235 of 370 attempts for 3,063 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. The Cardinals will look to bounce back following the loss in the ACC Championship game against the Florida State Seminoles when they face the USC Trojans.


The USC Trojans entered the season as one of the favorites to win the Pac-12 and make an appearance in the college football playoffs, however, they failed to live up to those expectations as they enter this game with a record of 7-5 which led to a 4th place finish in the Pac-12 while losing five of their last six games and are on a three-game losing streak following a 20-38 loss at home against the UCLA Bruins in their season finale.


The Trojans had one of the worst scoring defenses in college football this season as they enter this game allowing an average of 34.92 points per game which is the 9th most given up in college football this season, however, they were one of the highest-scoring teams as they averaged 41.83 points per game which ranked 4th in college football while also having one of the best passing offenses in the nation as they averaged the 6th most passing yards per game with an average of 307.5 passing yards per game. 


Caleb Williams played a pivotal role in the success the Trojans had on offense this season as he finished the season having completed 266 of 388 attempts for 3,633 yards with 30 touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 115 yards and 11 touchdowns, however, Williams will not play in this matchup as he has opted out to prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft. The USC Trojans will look to end their three-game losing streak when they play the Louisville Cardinals in the 2023 Holiday Bowl.


BookMaker has the Louisville Cardinals listed as 7.5-point favorites against the USC Trojans in the 2023 Holiday Bowl on Wednesday night. This will be the first time in the history of these two programs that they will face each other in college football. The Louisville Cardinals are 6-7 ATS overall and 4-7 ATS as a favorite this season while the USC Trojans are 3-9 ATS overall and 1-2 ATS as an underdog on the year.


The USC Trojans will be without their best playmaker on offense, Caleb Williams, for their bowl game against the Louisville Cardinals as he has opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. The Trojans have also been one of the worst teams at covering the spread this season as they are 3-9 ATS overall.


Not a game that I am excited about as a Trojans fan but unless I am missing something, USC is losing their QB, WR and RB in this game and Louisville will take advantage of a USC team that has struggled mightily to close the year.  


Spooky Express Pick: Louisville Cardinals -7