Peach Bowl prediction: Ole Miss vs. Penn State odds, pick, best bet
One of the most beautiful things about college football is that it regularly serves up matchups between two teams from completely different ends of the sport’s spectrum.
Saturday’s Peach Bowl, which pits Penn State as a four-point favorite against Ole Miss, fits that narrative perfectly.
While Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss want to put the pedal to the metal, Penn State is known for a slug-it-out defense and a methodical, possession-oriented offense that wants to shorten the game.
The old adage suggests that styles make fights and this should be a fascinating encounter between two teams that may as well be playing different sports.
Peach Bowl pick
Another positive for the Peach Bowl is that the opt-out list isn’tthatrobust.
There are still key absences, but trying to sort through the inactives doesn’t feel like homework for this clash.
The biggest name on the sideline will be Penn State defensive end Chop Robinson, a projected first-round pick in the NFL Draft, but the Nittany Lions will also be without cornerback Johnny Dixon and offensive tackle Olumuyiwa Fashanu is questionable.
Ole Miss will have to make do without edge Cedric Johnson, but that’s really its only key absence.
As usual, defense was the calling card for Penn State in 2023.
Jaxson Dart #2 of Mississippi reacts with head coach Lane Kiffin during the first quarter against Georgia. Getty ImagesThe Nittany Lions led the country in yards per play, were third in points allowed, second in rushing success rate against and sixth in passing success rate.
All that said, it is fair to question whether those numbers are a tad inflated since the Big Ten featured some terrible offenses this season.
Shutting down Indiana, Iowa or Rutgers is one thing, but containing Kiffin’s buzzsaw is a completely different puzzle.
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Most offenses in the Big Ten are lesser-versions of Penn State, while the Rebels depend on deception, explosiveness and a head-spinning pace.
The Nittany Lions haven’t seen anything like this attack in 2023.
Ole Miss does have issues stopping the run and that’s the bread-and-butter for Penn State when it has the ball, but the Rebels secondary should be a tough nut to crack for Drew Allar and an offense that didn’t make a habit of racking up big plays.
The betting market seems to be in Penn State’s corner as this line opened with the Nittany Lions as a 2.5-point favorite and they’re now sitting at -4, but I think this matchup of polar opposites benefits the underdog.
Not only should Ole Miss be the more motivated side, but their quick-strike offense should be able to keep them in this game from the opening kick.
There’s plenty of variance in this game and that’s always a good thing for the underdog.
Ole Miss vs. Penn State prediction
The Bet: Ole Miss ML (+154, DraftKings)
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