USC Trojans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Point Spread – Pick ATS 12/29/2017

USC Trojans (11-2 SU, 3-9-1 ATS) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS)
College Football Bowl Season Goodyear Cotton Bowl
Date and Time: Friday, December 29th, 2017 8:30 PM ET
Where: AT&T Stadium Dallas, TX
TV:ESPN
by Keith F., Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: USC +7/BUCKS -7
Over/Under Total: 64.5

Under any other circumstance, this would be your Rose Bowl. However, this year the scenery had to be changed to accommodate the College Football Playoff. Nevertheless, the traditional match-up is intact as the B1G Champions will meet with the Pac-12 Champions when the Ohio State Buckeyes will mix it up with the Southern California Trojans in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Kick-off is set for 8:30 PM EST and will be televised on ESPN. The festivities will come live from AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. Otherwise known as the home of the Dallas Cowboys. Its the Men of Troy against the Scarlet and Grey. Though these teams have their own legacies, these two are quite familiar with each other as they have met in several post-season bowl games in their storied histories. The last two contests took place in a two-game regular season series over the span of the 2008 and 2009 where USC would win both outings.

There are some noteworthy trends worth taken into consideration heading into this bowl game. First, Southern California has won their previous four matches against Ohio State. Additionally, Ohio State is just 2-4 ATS in their last six matches. Unfortunately, Southern California has also been supremely overvalued as a whole this year as they are just 2-7-1 ATS in their previous outings. Nevertheless, both teams enter with the kettle hot.

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Both teams are two of college footballs pedigree ensembles. Both were favorites to contend for the College Football Playoff and National Championship. Ohio State made it as high as #2 in the polls whilst USC climbed as high as #4 in some polls at one point this season. After losing to both Washington State and then the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, the Men of Troy were all but an afterthought for any consideration for post-season credentials. All this, in spite of navigating a very difficult schedule. Nevertheless, USC had its way in the Pac 12 and emerged as its champion to earn the New Years Six bid. Ohio State was denied a potential playoff bid despite winning the B1G Championship on Saturday against a then undefeated #4-ranked Wisconsin. The bid would go to Alabama instead.

Currently in this market, we have seen an initial lean on the Buckeyes reflected in a one-point line move upward from the open of this market. In Over/Under markets, the number has remained stationery in what forecasts a potential shootout. In the Money Line market would be remiss to mention that the Trojans are priced as a +240 pooch compared to Ohio State who is offered as a -280 outright.

Situational betting is a big part of our practice and this scenario sets up ideally for interested parties to back the Trojans. Ohio States state of mind heading into this game remains a big question. Whilst Ohio State was denied the playoff berth, USC never came into the discussion. We have to wonder if this game is a prime opportunity for USC to sell its stock to the committee for overlooking them. For Ohio State, this venue may seem like a cheap consolation prize. These two narratives change the dynamics of this clash.

Not too long ago, the Trojans were one of the most talked about teams in the beginning of the 2017 season. After hitting a couple bumps in the road, USC failed to live up to the hype and have been long since forgotten. However, we have seen what this team can do in high stakes games. Look no further than last years Rose Bowl against a fellow B1G constituent, Penn State. It was this contest that many pundits had already begun to pencil in USC quarterback Sam Darnold as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. Whilst the perception of this outfit was clearly exaggerated, this is the opportune time for USC to save some face here and prove that some of that hyperbole was warranted. Typically, USC would inflict a huge premium upon any taker that wishes to back them. Look no further than SCs against the spread record this season. However, this may be a rare scenario where the Trojans are a true value play because they are so undervalued in light of Ohio States prevalence. Well scoop up the points.

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