Updated December 5, 2023By Chris Boline
Who: USC Trojans vs. Louisville Cardinals
What: 2023 DirecTV Holiday Bowl
When: Wednesday, December 27, 2023
Where: Petco Park in San Diego, California
Bowl season has arrived and one of the more fascinating bowl matchups will take place just after Christmas with Louisville traveling to the West Coast to take on USC at Petco Park. The Cardinals registered an impressive mark of 10-3 this season with wins over ranked foes, Notre Dame and Duke. While they came up short in the ACC title game against Florida State, Louisville had multiple winning streaks this year over strong competition. Meanwhile, USC and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams started the season on a torrid hot streak, winning six games. However, the Trojans ultimately succumbed to the brutal Pac-12 schedule, going 1-4 in their last five conference matchups. Indeed this will be a matchup of two squads with different end-of-season mojo.
For this report, SBS will be going over what to look for from each of these squads along with a predicted winner, and more notes about college football betting.
2023 Holiday BowlThe Pick
USC Trojans vs. Louisville CardinalsLouisville ML-280-280-280
What to look for from: Louisville Cardinals
Cardinals signal-caller Jack Plummer had a solid season, accounting for 3,063 passing yards to go along with 21 passing touchdowns. Though he had a higher number of interceptions than you would like to see (he threw 12 this season), he still is a steady presence for the Cardinals under center. However, the true player to watch here for Louisville is running Jawhar Jordan who had a great campaign running the football with 1,128 rushing yards and 13 scores. The Cardinals’ offense can put up points in bunches as evidenced by their 45th-ranked points per game mark at 30.9.
An area where Louisville excelled this year though in the ACC was defense as showcased by their top 25 unit in points against per game (19.7 ppg). Linebacker TJ Quinn paced the defense this season with 86 tackles while accounting for one interception and a fumble recovery. Moreover, defensive back Devin Neal led the Cardinals’ front with four picks. A balanced team, Louisville did lose two games to end the year, albeit one was against then-fourth-ranked Florida State who were without dynamic playmaker Jordan Travis.
What to look for from: USC Trojans
The Trojans’ offensive engine, as many are well aware, stops and starts with Heisman winner Caleb Williams. While his bid for a second Heisman Trophy came up short, the quarterback still had a superb year. Williams accounted for 3,633 passing yards this year, along with 30 passing scores, along with a fantastic 11 rushing scores from the signal-caller position. Though his passing numbers were down this year from his Heisman-winning campaign the season prior, he posted a higher quarterback rating this year. He will have to post some great numbers in this matchup for the Trojans (who have a top-five ppg offense) to have a chance at the win.
Meanwhile, the Achilles heel of this USC team this season is the defense. Allowed nearly 35 ppg (34.9), the Trojans have been forced to win track meets in each game they play. While the offense certainly can put up gaudy numbers, the USC defense has not been able to keep pace, allowing point totals of 48, 34, 52, and 36 to ranked foes this year. Certainly, this could change against a less high-octane Tigers offense, but they will need a big effort for them to win.
Prediction: Though the Trojans do have a home-field advantage given the proximity of Los Angeles to San Diego, the Cardinals are not only the superior team, but they have also been playing much better as of late.
Louisville CardinalsTo win against USC Trojans in the 2023 Holiday Bowl
Even more information about your Holiday Bowl bets
Once you are all squared away regarding your Holiday Bowl insights and information, the variety of resources available to you at SBS will have you covered for all of bowl season. Of course, for additional betting markets on the sport covered here, the college football betting sites guide is a must-read page reviewing the latest college football news. Additionally, if you are looking for ways to maximize your wagers, our best bonus betting sites breakdown is a page you should bookmark. Here you can find a catalog of the latest and greatest welcome bonus offers for you. Finally, for those on the go, the best betting apps rundown is a great page to learn more about the nuances of mobile betting and how you can stay on top of the action.
About the Author
As a devout aficionado of sports, Chris Boline has carved a career within the athletic realm. A skilled scribe, he boasts a decade-long portfolio that encompasses coverage of the NBA G League, the Los Angeles Chargers, football in the Mountain West Conference, and basketball.
Beyond his professional pursuits, Chris is deeply invested in his community and dedicates his leisure hours to serving on boards, collaborating with community organizations, and cherishing the company of loved ones.
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