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Rose Bowl: Penn State Nittany Lions vs Utah Utes Betting Picks and Prediction

The beautiful pageantry that comes with the Rose Bowl will again be on display, though a day later than its usual New Year’s Day date. This year’s rendition will begin at 5 p.m. ET on Monday, with the Penn State Nittany Lions representing the Big Ten and the Utah Utes representing the Pac-12.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Utah Utes Odds

A Different Rose Bowl

Traditionally a Big Ten versus Pac-12 matchup takes on a bit of a different flavor this season. The Nittany Lions (10-2) did not even play for the Big Ten championship, though its two losses were to Michigan (the league champ) and Ohio State, who both made the College Football Playoff.

The Utes (10-3) were the Pac-12 champions after beating the Southern Cal Trojans in the conference championship game and the regular season, which denied the league a playoff team.

In the future, though, with playoff expansion, the Rose Bowl will likely be a semifinal in the bowl rotation, while in off years, it will not feature the league champions. 

The future of one of the great NCAAF games is unknown to what degree, but it will carry importance in future years.

For this year, though, here is what you need to know before making Penn State vs. Utah Utes picks.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Utah Utes Analysis

Penn State Performance Recap

Penn State’s program has been elite defensively under James Franklin, and the offense has been very good but not good enough to compete to be atop the NCAAF standings. The same was true this season.

The Nittany Lions were ninth nationally in allowing 18.0 points per game. The defense was 17th in allowing 318.2 total yards per game and 15th against the rush in allowing 106.2 yards per game. They were 48th in allowing 212.0 yards passing per game. Their 12 takeaways were 32nd.

Offensively, the Nittany Lions were 19th in scoring 35.8 points per game and 35th in gaining 432.4 yards per game. They were 51st in passing for 250.3 yards per game and 43rd in rushing for 182.1 yards per game. Their seven turnovers were 58th.

Penn State Stars

It will be interesting to see the leash given to longtime starter Sean Clifford, who has completed 63.6% of his passes for 2,543 yards, 22 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also has five rushing touchdowns. But backup and former five-star QB Drew Allar will need some experience going into next season. Allar completed 59.3% of his 59 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns.

The rushing attack is led by Nicholas Singleton, who has 932 yards on 148 carries and ten touchdowns. Tandem back Kaytron Allen has 830 rushing yards on 156 carries and nine touchdowns.

The receiving attack was spread out and featured Mitchell Tinsley as the leader at 528 receiving yards on 45 catches and four touchdowns. Brenton Strange caught five touchdowns to lead the team.

Key Injuries

Star wide receiver Parker Washington will be out after catching 46 passes for 611 yards and two touchdowns. He is among four Nittany Lions with college football injuries. Tight end Jerry Cross is questionable for undisclosed reasons.

Betting Trends to Know

Penn State was fairly profitable for those making college football picks this season. The Nittany Lions were 9-3 against the spread and 8-4 on over/under. They were 8-2 as favorites, though 7-0 when favored by 20.5 points or less.

The over is 4-0 in their last four games against Pac-12 teams. The Nittany Lions have covered in their last six games, regardless of the opponent.

Utah Performance Recap

Utah had a rather challenging NCAAF schedule but was able to make it through to a second straight Pac-12 championship game. After a one-point victory the first time, the Utes dismantled Southern Cal to claim the championship and consecutive Rose Bowl berths.

Their defense was their weaker unit, ranking 24th in allowing 20.4 points per game and 20th in allowing 325.3 yards per game. They were 16th against the run, allowing 107.0 yards per game, and 58th against the pass, allowing 218.3 yards per game. Their 12 takeaways were 37th.

The Utes were strong on both sides of the ball. They were eighth nationally in scoring 40.0 points per game and 17th in gaining 473.0 yards per game. They were 10th in rushing at 220.5 yards per game and 48th in passing at 252.5 yards per game. Their eight giveaways were 83rd.

Utah Stars

Cameron Rising has been a great quarterback, with a 66.2% completion rate for 2,939 yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He’s rushed for 410 yards and six touchdowns. He’s one of six players with four rushing touchdowns or more.

The rushing attack is led by Tavion Thomas, who rushed for 687 yards and seven touchdowns. Micah Bernard has 474 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and Ja’Quinden Jackson has eight touchdowns on 65 carries for 450 yards.

Key Injuries

Defensive back Clark Phillips III is out due to personal reasons.

Betting Trends to Know

The Utes were 8-5 against the spread and 7-6 on over/under this season. They were also 4-3 straight up on the road or at a neutral site. If the line closes as underdogs, it will be the third time all season with a 1-1 record – both times as 6.5 points or less.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Utah Utes Odds

Rose Bowl odds show Penn State is a one-point favorite with an over/under of 53.5 points. The Nittany Lions are -115 on the moneyline, while the Utes are -105 on the moneyline.

Some sportsbooks offer different numbers, including Utah as a one-point favorite like things initially opened. So browse around before making Penn State vs. Utah Utes picks.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Utah Utes Betting Picks

Here are our Penn State vs. Utah Utes picks:

  • Moneyline: With two evenly matched teams, we’ll go with Utah -105.
  • Over/Under: It’s hard to say how well Penn State will move the ball, so we’ll go under 53.5.
  • Spread: If we take Utah moneyline, we’ll also go Utah +1.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Utah Utes Score Prediction

This is a big game for both programs. It’s hard to say what Penn State’s offense will look like, as it can sometimes be stagnant under Clifford. 

That’s our reasoning for siding with 63% of public bets and taking the Utes against the spread.

NCAAF Pick: Utah 31, Penn State 20

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