2023 Holiday Bowl – Louisville vs USC

2023 Holiday Bowl – Louisville vs USC

posted December 21

The Game

It’s time to head to San Diego and take in the Holiday Bowl featuring a pair of teams that are disappointed for very different reasons. LUA-VUH (10-3) made the ACC Championship Game which was a yuuuge accomplishment but they couldn’t beat a Florida St team playing with an inexperienced scrub at QB. The Trojans had playoff aspirations, or at least plans for the PAC 12 Championship Game, and now they find themselves at 7-5 playing in the Holiday Bowl.

The Details

Louisville -7.5 USC (57.5)

MEGALOCKS LINE – Louisville -7

“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Louisville 32.5 USC 25

Louisville offense vs USC defense

The Cardinals have been decent on offense (#45 FBS rushing, #52 passing) but they certainly haven’t been as explosive as we’d hoped heading into the season. QB Jack Plummer has a LASER ROCKET ARM but he’s got the mobility of an OIL RIG and he can’t be trusted to throw the ball too many times (12 INT). There’s also bad news to report as LUA-VUH will be without their top WR in Jamari Thrash (858, 6 TD) along with 1,000-yard rusher Jawhar Jordan. Thankfully for the Cardinals, the USC defense is horrible (#114 run D, #119 pass efficiency D) so there’s little doubt that LUA-VUH will be able to move the ball.

USC offense vs Louisville defense

The Trojans did a fine job of SCORING the FOOTBALL during the regular season (#4, 42 PPG) but they’ll be without 2022 Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams at QB (30-5 TD to INT, 11 rush TD) and will be rolling with backup Miller Moss (32 attempts) in this game. It gets old talking about guys who aren’t playing in bowl games but here we go again. The Trojans will be without their excellent RB MarShawn Lloyd (820, 7.1, 9 TD) as well as #2 WR Brendan Rice (791, 12 TD) which will make the task more difficult for Miller Moss. The Cardinals have been stout vs the run (#12 FBS run defense) but they’ve definitely had issues from time-to-time in the secondary. They’ll be without a few key contributors on defense but should be able to do a decent job vs a depleted USC offense.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

USC HC Lincoln Riley is 1-4 SU in bowl games and that includes losing to something known as Tulane in last year’s Cotton Bowl…..LUA-VUH HC Jeff Brohm is 4-1 SU in bowl games but this will be his maiden voyage with the Cardinals.


Yup. Just another bowl game that’ll almost certainly be entertaining BUT one that is very tough to handicap. The USC offense will have to SCORE the FOOTBALL fairly regularly to stay in this game but it’s not impossible to see that happen. Tough call.


No leanage

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.