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Penn State vs. USC Rose Bowl Preview

NCAA Football Betting Rose Bowl USC vs Penn State

The BCS Bowls start the New Year off with an online college football betting bang, as the big boys among the powerhouse schools take center and step into the spot light, while us bettors attempt to start 2009 by beating spreads and making money. New Year’s Day NCAA football wagering action is legendary and arguably the most anticipated day among the sports betting community, highlighted by the famed Rose Bowl.  

The BCS system has created debate and controversy since implemented in 1998, as many feel a playoff format would be much more valid, yet has become a showcase for the sport and makes for awesome games. And there’s no debating that if you bet on college football!

Rose Bowl—No. 8 Penn St. vs. No. 5 USC (5:00pm EST – Pasadena, CA)

What better way to start the BCS action than with ”The Granddaddy of Them All”? This is the 95th Rose Bowl and USC (11-1 SU, 6-6 ATS) has won a record 23 of them. This is the first Rose Bowl to include the top Pac-10 and Big Ten teams since 2004, which places two of college football’s best coaches ever on the same field to face off. The 82-year old Joe Paterno has the most overall wins in the sport’s history with 383 and owns the all-time best bowl record of 23-10-1. Pete Carroll owns the highest winning percentage (.853) among active coaches. The Nittany Lions (11-1 SU, 7-3-1 ATS) are No. 6 all-time with 800 wins and the Trojans are 10th with 765.

The Nittany Lions look to prevent the Trojans from winning a third straight Rose Bowl. Among the storied programs, USC was the more dominant team over the final two months of the season, outscoring opponents 342-56. They finished the campaign riding a nine-game winning streak, which included three shutouts and only one game its top-ranked defense allowed more than 10 points. Despite its late season surge, USC managed to cover the spread only once in their final four games due-in-part to overwhelming respect given by oddsmakers. BetUS NCAA football odds has the Trojans listed as the 9-point favorites.

No team has given up fewer points (7.8) or total yards per game (206.1). The Trojans’ top-ranked defense is one of the fastest and most talented units in the country and will make it difficult for Penn State to spread the field and utilize its speed on the outside like they did against Big Ten opponents. USC has the most talented linebacker corps in the nation and their secondary features two safeties in Taylor Mays and Kevin Ellison that relentlessly cover the field in both pass coverage and run support.

USC will face a stout offense led by Nittany Lions’ quarterback Daryll Clark, who will have to play mistake free ball and not force the action. Clark finished throwing for 2,319 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Clark has a trio of quick senior receivers as targets in the like of Deon Butler, Jordan Norwood and Derrick Williams, who combined for 121 catches, 1,769 yards and 15 touchdowns. Their talent and speed will help counter the Trojans’ lightning fast defense.

The Nittany Lions earned solid coin down the stretch, finishing the season’s last six games with a 4-2 ATS mark, including a 49-18 thrashing for an easy cover victory against Michigan State in Happy Valley in finale as 16-point favorites. Much of Penn State’s ATS strength and overall success this year also came on defense, ranking in the top 10 nationally in points (12.4) and total yards (263.9) allowed per game.

Penn State’s ‘D’ will try to slowdown quarterback Mark Sanchez, who’s been dazzlingwith a 159.1 quarterback rating, throwing for conference highs of 30 touchdowns and 2,794 yards. However, he will make mistakes. Sanchez threw at least one interception in seven games this year and if Penn State’s defense can bring the heat, they could force him into making bad throws and capitalize on turnovers, which they must turn into points. Another key to success for Penn State on this side of the ball is making tackles to limit USC’s receivers yards-after-catch opportunities, which they’ve made a living from.

Analysis: Many college football wagering newbies and gurus believe that USC will have this one in the bag by halftime. But let’s not forget JoPa’s team had no problem beating the only team that downed USC this season, rolling Oregon State 45-14 at home on Sept. 6. The Nittany Lions’ speed on both sides of the ball is underrated, especially at the receiving corps, and let’s also not forget about a tailback named Evan Royster who’s been a playmaker this year. Penn State could make this a tighter game than most expect.

Free BCS Bowl Picks: Penn State +9


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