This year’s Rose Bowl isn’t the usual matchups of the Big-10 winner vs. the Pac-12 winner. That’s because both Michigan, the Big-10 champions, and Ohio State are each in the College Football Playoff.
Thus, Penn State has vaulted into the Rose Bowl, even ahead of Purdue, who lost to Michigan in the Big-10 title game. The Nittany Lions will meet Utah, who won the Pac-12 for a second consecutive season.
Below are betting notes on the game and edges for each team.
Penn State (10-2, 9-3 ATS) vs. Utah (10-3, 8-5 ATS)
Moneyline: Penn State +120, Utah -140
Spread: Utah -2.5
The Utes played admirably a year ago and even jumped out to a 14-0 lead over Ohio State before ultimately falling to the Buckeyes, 48-45. Utah was a four-point underdog in that game, and now finds itself as the favorite this time around.
Utah dominated USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game, 47-24, while outscoring the Trojans 30-7 in the second half. The Utes are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
Penn State has been red hot ATS as well and a perfect 6-0 to end the season. The Nittany Lions were a double-digit favorite in each of their last five games and covered on each occasion. Penn State’s two losses came to Ohio State (44-31) and Michigan (41-17).
Comparatively, two of Utah’s three losses against Oregon and Florida were by three points or less. Utah’s only double-digit loss came on the road against UCLA (42-32).
Penn State’s offense ranks 19th in scoring and will go against Utah’s 24th-ranked scoring defense. And Utah’s eighth-ranked scoring offense will match up with Penn State’s scoring defense.
There isn’t a major edge for either team offensively or defensively. In fact, this is about as evenly matched game as you’ll find, which means much of your bet will be based on which conference you have more faith in. For what it’s worth, Utah’s pair of wins over USC are more impressive than anything on Penn State’s resume.
Currently the money is mostly split with 51% on Utah. However, 94% of the money is on the over.