USC Trojans 2022 College Football Playoff Odds Are On A Steady Climb

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Through three games, the USC Trojans have lived up to their lofty preseason expectations. Lincoln Riley’s crew has won their first three games by double digits. The offense is averaging 50.7 points per game. And while the defense hasn’t dominated, it’s come up with timely takeaways and has held up in the red zone. 

USC sits at 3-0 with a PAC-12 victory already under its belt as it enters the heart of conference play. And to no surprise, expectations have only gone up. DraftKings Sportsbook lists USC at +280 to make the College Football Playoff. After opening the year at 20/1 to win the national championship, USC is now listed at 12/1 by DraftKings, good for the fourth-best odds on the board. 

Why is USC rising up the odds boards?

USC’s new offense under Riley has delivered massive returns. The Trojans are electric and seemingly uncoverable at times. The offense is averaging nearly eight yards per play, and USC’s shown an ability to score with explosive plays and more methodical drives. 

Quarterback Caleb Williams has been arguably the best player in college football thus far, completing 74% of his passes for 874 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. And while his rushing total hasn’t been incredible (just 73 yards due to losses from sacks), Williams’ dual-threat ability has made it seem like the Trojans are playing 12-on-11 most times. 

Williams has climbed up the Heisman Trophy ladder and now sits at +350 to win the award, tied with Alabama QB Bryce Young and trailing only Ohio State QB C.J. Stroud. 

The weaponry around Williams has been outstanding too. Tailbacks Travis Dye and Austin Jones have combined for 443 yards on just 54 carries. 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison has been a beast, catching 18 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns. And running mate Mario Williams adds explosiveness alongside Addison and has 194 yards on 12 grabs. 

What about the USC defense?

The offense has been every bit as good as advertised. But USC’s offense still has something to prove. While they’re only surrendering 19.7 points per game, they’re giving up 5.6 yards per play and nearly five yards per rush. 

The Trojans have embraced a bend don’t break mentality. USC has given up seven scores on 13 red zone trips and has benefitted from 10 takeaways, tied for the second-most in college football. 

USC’s defense hasn’t been a problem yet, as the Trojans have jumped out to hot starts in each of their first three games. But this unit could be exposed in conference play, starting with a really solid Oregon State team that beat the Trojans 45-27 at the L.A. Coliseum last year. The Beavers employ a running game that’s averaging 190 yards per game. While Oregon State doesn’t boast an elite defense, their ground game could control time of possession and keep Williams and USC’s offense on the sideline. 

No offense to Stanford, but this weekend will be the first real road test USC faces all season. The crowd in Corvalis should be revved up as the Beavers attempt to move to 4-0. 

For those who believe in USC to make a run to the Playoff, a bet on Williams to win the Heisman is probably a better bet right now, considering the odds. And anyone looking to hop on USC’s Playoff or title odds would be wise to do so before USC’s trip to Utah on October 15, which will likely be USC’s biggest and last test on the schedule. 

The expectation was for USC to be undefeated entering this game. They’ve accomplished that goal. But we’ll get a better idea of whether USC is for real this weekend in a PAC-12 after-dark showdown. Now, the real work begins.