Kentucky vs. Penn State Citrus Bowl Pick
Coming into the New Year’s Day bowls, Big Ten teams have gotten it handed to them by SEC opponents. Will that change at 1:00 p.m. ET Monday when Penn State takes on Kentucky in the VRBO Citrus Bowl?
271 Kentucky Wildcats vs. 272 Penn State Nittany Lions
1:00 p.m. ET, Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Nittany Lions are 6-point favorites to beat the Wildcats. The total, meanwhile, sits at 47 points. As of this writing, 61% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Nittany Lions.
Kentucky junior RB Benny Snell will play in the team's Citrus Bowl matchup with Penn State on Jan. 1. Snell (5'11/223) declared for the draft earlier on Friday, but while many draft declarations come with a subsequent bowl skippage, that won't be the case with the junior standout. A potential Day 2 prospect for the spring, Snell is currently just four yards shy of setting a new season-best mark for rushing yardage. He's currently sitting on 1,330 yards and 14 touchdowns for the campaign.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State redshirt senior QB Trace McSorley completed 12-of-22 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in a 38-3 victory over Maryland on Saturday. McSorley added 64 rushing yards and two ground scores. It's bad form to nitpick a performance this strong, but we do feel compelled to add that McSorley once again didn't complete 60% of his passes. He's done so only twice this year after completing 66.5% of his passes last season. Penn State is headed into bowl season at 9-3. McSorley won't get an offseason this year. He accepted an invitation to play in the Reese's Senior Bowl earlier this week and will prepare for the NFL Draft thereafter.
The Wildcats are just 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games and are 3-12 at the betting window in their last 15 non-conference games.
The Nittany Lions are 24-9-2 against the spread in their last 35 games overall but are winless at 0-4 ATS in their last four games versus SEC opponents.
If like offense with your bowls, this matchup isn’t for you. The Wildcats boast one of the best linebacking corps in the nation, led by All-American Josh Allen. They can get sideline-to-sideline as well as any linebacking unit in the nation and thus, they’ll be able to limit what Trace McSorley does with his legs. Offensively, Kentucky relies on Snell and its running game to move the chains, limit possessions for its opponent and protect its outstanding defense. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions rank 11th in S&P+ defense, although its defense can be had somewhat on the ground. I like the under and the underdog in what should be a defensive battle throughout.
VRBO Citrus Bowl Prediction: Kentucky +6 and Kentucky/Penn State under 47