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Ole Miss vs. Penn State Peach Bowl 2023 Odds & Picks: Lions Roar Over Rebs

Kaytron Allen Penn State Nittany Lions v Michigan State
Kaytron Allen #13 of the Penn State Nittany Lions reacts after running for a first down in the fourth quarter against the Michigan State Spartans. Mike Mulholland/Getty Images/AFP

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is the site of this year’s Peach Bowl between No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 10 Penn State. Let’s check out the college football odds board as the SEC’s Rebels battle the Big Ten’s Nittany Lions and keep cashing our NCAAF picks!

Top Pick


Ole Miss Rebels vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Saturday, December 30, 2023 – 12:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium


Stat Trifecta

  • Penn State is 15-3-1 ATS in their last 19 games.
  • Penn State is 15-2 SU in their last 17 games.
  • Penn State is 20-0 SU in their last 20 games when playing as the favorite.

Rebs Drub Dawgs

Ole Miss ended their season with a 17-7 victory over crosstown neighbor, Mississippi State, and covered as nine-point road chalk to claim the annual battle for the Golden Egg trophy. It was a solid win to punctuate an excellent 2023 campaign. The defense stood tall after the Rebels’ aerial attack sputtered under junior quarterback Jaxson Dart who was held to just 96 passing yards.

However, the ground game came to play for Ole Miss with sophomore running back, Quinshon Judkins, chewing up 119 of the team’s 211 rushing yards while scoring a touchdown. Judkins has been a steamroller throughout the season as evidenced by his 1,052 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns.

If you ever had doubts as to the importance of a head coach, consider the Rebels have had two 10-win seasons over the last three years under Lane Kiffin but before his arrival, they had never reached that plateau.

Nittany Lions Blank Spartans

Penn State left little doubt as to whether they belong as a top 10 team this season when they bulldozed Michigan State in their regular-season finale. Entering as a three-touchdown favorite, the Lions toyed with their food for a full 60 minutes.

Penn State’s sophomore quarterback, Drew Allar, ended with 292 yards and two touchdowns while running back Kaytron Allen scampered for a career-high 137 yards. But the defense was superb as well, limiting the MSU passing attack to just 88 yards and putting the Spartans’ running game in reverse with -35 yards. Seven sacks and one interception later, the Lions claimed their third shutout of the season.

The Pick

This should be one of the most interesting and entertaining of the big bowl games. Both teams enter with identical 10-2 records and both have lost to powerhouses, proving they are half a notch below the true elites.

Ole Miss dropped a 24-10 decision to Alabama in the fourth week of their season before getting destroyed by Georgia, 52-17, on November 11th.

Similarly, Penn State was 6-0 before they met Ohio State, suffering a 20-12 setback. Three weeks later they would face Michigan and bow, 24-15, before defeating Rutgers and Michigan State to put a bow on their season.

As we size these teams up, we see that both teams come equipped with high-powered offenses.

Ole Miss ranks:

  • 20th in points (34.8/game)
  • 27th in passing (276.6/game)
  • 39th in rushing (179/game)

Penn State ranks:

  • 12th in points (37.2/game)
  • 92nd in passing (204.3/game)
  • 25th in rushing (186.7/game)

Thus, we can see that the Rebels will rely on their vaunted passing attack to make things happen on the offensive side of the ball while the Lions will count on their rushing attack to control the pace and tempo of the game.

The Deciding Factor

But defense is why Penn State wins this game. The Rebels check in with a respectable defensive unit, allowing 22.3 points per game which places them 42nd in that category.

However, Penn State has a next-level defense, allowing a paltry 11.4 points per game, good for 3rd and trailing only Michigan and Ohio State. But more to the point is the Lions’ pass defense which, again, ranks 3rd in the nation surrendering just 153.6 yards per contest trailing only – you guessed it – Michigan and Ohio State.

Penn State’s pass defense will tell the tale in this one which is why the sportsbooks have tagged the Lions as 3½ point neutral site favorites. But that line seems to be rising as Caesars (check our Caesars Sportsbook Review) is up to Penn State -4 as of this writing.

However, I’m not a big fan of laying north of the magic number 3, and when I consider how much it is going to cost me to land on it, paying the premium (25-30 cents) to do so, it made me pivot and think about betting the Lions on the moneyline.

As long as I’m going to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of Penn State -3 at -135 betting odds, I might as well go for broke and pay a bit more in vig and buy them down to even. And that’s precisely what I plan on doing and I hope you do too.

NCAAF Pick: Penn State ML (-167) at BetRivers (check our BetRivers Review)

*The line and/or odds referenced in this article might have changed since the content was published. For the latest information on line movements, visit OddsTrader’s free betting odds tool.

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