USC vs Penn State Rose Bowl Betting Pick – 1-02-2017
Line: Penn State +7, 59.5
Kickoff: 5pm EST
Rose Bowl Prediction by Dusty Miller of Precision Picks
USC Trojans (9-3. 8-4 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2, 9-3-1 ATS)
USC had a rough start to the 2016 season starting (1-3). Head coach Clay Helton quickly made a switch to redshirt freshman Sam Darnold as the starting quarterback, and USC finished 8-1 with all eight wins being consecutive to close out the season. Darnold finished the season throwing for 2,633 yards, 26 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Sam Darnold has the Trojans excited for the future and hopeful for a win in the Rose Bowl.
Penn State is saying “I told you so” after Ohio State’s blowout loss to Clemson on Saturday night. Penn State won the best conference in college football this season but were left out of the College Football Playoff in favor of Ohio State, a team they beat. Regardless, they have a tough task ahead of them going to Pasadena to take on the Trojans. If the Nittany Lions pull out a victory they will notch their first 12 win season since 1994.
The Nittany Lions 25th ranked pass defense will be tested vs QB Sam Darnold and his two top receivers, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers. Both have combined for 1,435 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns and both are debating entering the 2017 NFL Draft. The Trojans averaged 33 PPG and averaged 468 total yards per game. The biggest question mark looming over the Trojans is whether or not they are slightly overrated? USC has two wins over teams that played in bowl games this season, Washington and Colorado. Both teams were ranked high but also did not fare well in their respective bowl games. If the Pac 12 as a whole was down this season there is a chance their end of the season was massively overblown?
Penn State QB Trace McSorely was a nice surprise for this Lions team in 2016. Throwing for 25 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions, McSorely is athletic quarterback that can make plays with his legs if the pocket collapses. Rushing for 352 yards and 6 touchdowns, McSorely was second to running back Saquon Barkley. Barkley is a bonafide stud and has NFL teams anticipating his entry into the Draft, most likely in 2018. Barkley rushed for 1302 yards and 16 touchdowns and is a combination of speed and power. There is no question that Barkley will be a standout in the Rose Bowl and a key to a Penn State victory.
It’s tough to overlook the sheer athletic advantage that USC typically fields every season. One area of concern for Penn State is their trend of starting slow. In this particular game, you worry about the Trojans jumping out to a big lead basically playing at home. An obvious area concern for USC backers is how their young QB will handle the pressure? If Penn State’s defensive front can get after Darnold how will he respond? Penn State is good defending the pass but putting pressure on Darnold will be a must.
What you can not discount with this Penn State team is their heart and determination and you can not discount the quality of their wins. There is something different with this Penn State team and they thrive in the underdog role. They cashed ATS their final 8 games of the season and were 9-3-1 against the spread.
The Trojans are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win and 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win. The Nittany Lions are 5-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
I think the Nittany Lions are once again getting disrespected as +7 point underdogs. Are they bitter about not getting into the College Football Playoff? You better believe it and they will prove how good of a football team they are Monday Night in Pasadena. My money is on the Penn State Nittany Lions +7 winning this game outright, 45-27.
USC vs Penn State Free Rose Bowl Betting Prediction: Penn State +7