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Trojans Two-Point Underdogs to Hawkeyes in 2019 Holiday Bowl: Picks & Odds

The USC Trojans celebrate a touchdown against Stanford in Week 2
USC's offense has found its stride under freshman Kedon Slovis. Photo by @USC_Athletics.
  • Iowa is a two-point favorite against USC in the 2019 Holiday Bowl (Friday, Dec. 27)
  • Both teams won 5 of their last 6 games
  • The Hawkeyes are laying two points to the Trojans

This year’s Holiday Bowl (Friday, Dec. 27, San Diego) between the USC Trojans (8-4, 7-2 Pac-12) and Iowa Hawkeyes (9-3, 6-3 Big Ten) features a matchup of two Power Five teams that finished 2019 strong and are looking to cap off the season in winning fashion. The stylistic differences between the Trojans and Hawkeyes should create an intriguing contest, and the USC vs Iowa odds favor Kirk Ferentz’ team by two points.

USC Trojans vs Iowa Hawkeyes Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
USC Trojans +2 (-110) +109 O 51.5 (-115)
Iowa Hawkeyes -2 (-110) -129 U 51.5 (-105)

Odds taken Dec 20.

Strong Finish for the Trojans

USC leads the all-time series against Iowa by a count of 7-2, but the two programs haven’t met since the 2003 Orange Bowl. The Trojans took home a 38-17 victory on that occasion.

Both teams finished the year by winning five of their last six games, so this Holiday Bowl will be an exciting matchup of two squads with a ton of momentum. 

Another Strong Season for Kirk Ferentz’ Hawkeyes

Iowa finished 9-3, and those defeats were the definition of quality. They all came against ranked opponents in #10 Penn State, #19 Michigan, and #13 Wisconsin. 

Offensively, the Hawkeyes were led by a three-headed rushing attack. Tyler Goodson rushed for 590 yards, Mekhi Sargent ran for 543 yards, and Toren Young racked up 414. Quarterback Nate Stanley had a solid season as a game-managing quarterback, but this offense was driven by Goodson, Sargent, and Young.

The defense was tremendous this season. They rank 12th in total defense, giving up just 304.3 yards per game, and second in touchdowns allowed, with just 18 given up.

That unit was led by AJ Epenesa, who is destined to be a high draft pick. He racked up 45 tackles, and added 9 sacks and 3 forced fumbles this season.

What’s the Best Bet?

The total finished over in 7 of USC’s 12 games, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. At the back end of the season, as USC’s offense truly found its rhythm with a healthy Kedon Slovis, the total finished over in their last five straight games.

In Iowa’s case, the total finished over in just 27% of their games this season. However, when they were away from home, the total finished over in 40% of contests. 

This Holiday Bowl is a battle of styles, and it is USC’s offense that will win that battle. The total sits at 51.5 and the over is the way to go. 

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