NCAAF Bowls Best Bets for Monday: Value Plays on Cotton and Rose Bowls

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Cameron Rising #7 of the Utah Utes looks to throw a pass against the USC Trojans in the Pac-12 Championship on December 02, 2022. David Becker/Getty Images/AFP.

NCAAF Pick: Utah -1.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Utah -1.5 (-108)
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Monday’s college football betting card includes tight odds for the Cotton Bowl, where Tulane meets USC, and the Rose Bowl which finds Penn State taking on Utah.

Tulane Green Wave vs. USC Trojans

Monday, January 2, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at AT&T Stadium

This year’s Group of 5 champions turned out to be Tulane, a considerable accomplishment since the Green Wave were 40/1 longshots on the NCAA football futures just to win the American Athletic Conference.

Tulane’s well-deserved reward is getting to play at Jerry’s World in the Cotton Bowl, the irony there being the same bowl invitation is something of a letdown for the USC Trojans who were just a game away from making it to the College Football Playoffs.

Injuries Cut Into SoCal Chalk

Having a college football blueblood as USC goes up against one of the ‘little guys’ like Tulane, one would expect a pretty wide gap in the spread. That is not the case, however, due to a long list of injuries for the Trojans.

There’s been a little line movement since the Trojans were initially pegged as 1-point favorites in the 87th Cotton Bowl Classic, but they are still showing up as rather modest 2-point chalk at most outlets. Monday’s scoreboard target is 63-63.5.

Some of the favorable movement on USC is due to expectations that Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams (hamstring) will be under center for the Trojans; at least, those are the expectations of Tulane head coach Willie Fritz.

Southern Cal will still be without 2 starters on the offensive line, first-team All-America guard Andrew Vorhees and center Brett Neilon. Leading receiver Jordan Addison has also been ruled out due to an ankle injury.

Can Trojans Control Green Wave Ground Game?

During the season, Tulane relied heavily on running back Tyjae Spears, and the junior put up some strong numbers with close to 1,400 yards rushing at a solid 6.5 yards per carry clip. But the Green Wave really made their bones playing solid defense, and we’ll see if they can take advantage of the banged-up Trojans offense.

Even if he’s less than 100%, Williams is capable of guiding USC’s offense past the stout Tulane stop unit, so it will be up to a Trojans defense that fell apart in the PAC-12 Championship to get their act together against Spears and the Green Wave offense.

1st Meeting Since 1946

All 3 previous meetings between Tulane and USC took place more than 75 years ago, including the 1932 Rose Bowl, so there aren’t any trends to fall back on.

Best Bet

My college football pick is to give up the 2 points and have faith in the Heisman Trophy winner.

For USC fans looking to bet on this game, you can do it at our top California betting sites.

NCAAF Pick: USC -2 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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USC -2 (-108)
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Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Utah Utes

Monday, January 2, 2023 - 05:00 PM EST at Rose Bowl

There also aren’t any recent trends in the Rose Bowl matchup between Utah and Penn State as the Utes and Nittany Lions are meeting for the very first time ever. And also like the Cotton Bowl, there are some very tight numbers for the collision.

Teams a Combined 17-8 ATS

Utah opened -1 on the spread, and that has increased at most of the best US betting sites to 1.5 or 2. The total has experienced similar movement from a 51-point opener up to 52.5 across the board.

PSU, Utah Bring Strong Defenses Into Game

While that total isn’t massive, it is still a respectable number for a couple of teams that rank in the top 25 in many defensive categories, including scoring, total yards, and rushing yards. Penn State finished 8-4 O/U in the totals column while Utah was 7-6.

Neither team relied solely on their defense, explaining why we’re seeing a total in the 50s on the NCAAF odds board instead of one in the 40s.

Utah was fifth among Power 5 teams averaging better than 220 yards per game on the ground, with a deep backfield o go with dual-threat QB Cameron Rising, while Penn State featured twin tailbacks Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen.

Key Players Opt Out on Both Sides

Missing from the Utah defensive backfield on Monday will be Clark Phillips III, a unanimous All-America cornerback from Lakewood, CA. Phillips will skip the Rose Bowl while he focuses on getting ready for the NFL Draft and combine.

The flip side is Penn State will not have leading receiver Parker Washington. The sophomore from Sugar Land, TX was injured late in the season and decided to rehab the injury instead of play as he sets his sights on getting ready for a pro football career.

Best Bet

Losing Phillips is a bigger loss to Utah and Washington’s absence will be for Penn State, but I still like the Utes to win and cover.

NCAAF Pick: Utah -1.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.