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Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Penn State Expert Pick and Prediction – December 30, 2023

Peach Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Penn State Expert Pick and Prediction – December 30, 2023

PEACH BOWL: OLE MISS VS. PENN STATE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – December 30, 2023 — Has Penn State figured out the offensive issues that plagued it against good teams? Drew Allar and the offense went through a bunch of growing pains, but the Nittany Lions ended up with the same 10-2 mark they had a season ago. Once again, they couldn’t beat Ohio State or Michigan, but they had no problems with anyone else on the schedule.

Related: Rose Bowl Pick and Prediction

Mississippi was similar but different. The Rebels had their chance if they’d taken advantage of catching Alabama before the Tide figured things out, but they were never in the game against Georgia. Other than that, there wasn’t much meat to the Ole Miss schedule. The Rebels’ best win was hot-and-cold LSU, with the next best win coming against the Texas A&M team that sent Jimbo Fisher packing.

And that makes this a tough pick. So does the fact that both teams have a lot on the line. Both want to legitimize their record as more than a product of a soft schedule. The pressure’s really on for Penn State to do so after Friday, given that Missouri wore down Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl. If the Nittany Lions also go down to an SEC opponent, it’s not going to be a comfortable offseason in Happy Valley.

The Odds

Matchup Open Spread Points Moneyline
Ole Miss

(10-2 SU, 7-4-1 ATS) 

O49.5 +4.5 O49.5 +165
Penn State

(10-2 SU, 9-3 ATS) 

-4 -4.5 U49.5 -200


When: Saturday, December 30 at Noon EST

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta


Public Bets: 54% on Penn State

Public Money: 59% on Ole Miss

Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of December 29th, 2023.

Missouri vs. Ohio State In-Season Trends

Is Ole Miss’ tendency to play unders more of an endorsement for their defense or an indictment of who they played? Mississippi State, Arkansas and Vanderbilt are both home for the holidays, Auburn barely qualified for a bowl and Louisiana-Monroe wasn’t a good Sun Belt squad. Meanwhile, Georgia and Texas A&M both put 35 or more on the Rebels’ defense, as did LSU.

Related: Sun Bowl Expert Pick and Prediction

Penn State played under in its final three games, including its loss to Michigan. The Nittany Lions also have some questions, given that their performances might have had more to do with their opposition. Penn State won its final two games 69-6 and played under both times, but the opposition was Rutgers’ useless offense and dead team walking Michigan State.

There are two schools of thought here with the Nittany Lions: on one hand, James Franklin has won his past three New Year’s Six games. On the other, he hasn’t ever won consecutive bowls.


Weather won’t play a factor inside the Falcons’ stadium.

The Difference-Makers

Penn State cornerback Kalen King gets thrown at so infrequently that he rarely gets a chance to make plays. (Photo by Butch Dill/AP)

Penn State’s offense will get much of the attention, but Kalen King might be even more important to the Nittany Lions’ cause. That might seem odd given that King had no interceptions in 2023, but that’s because teams just don’t throw the ball to King’s receiver unless it’s Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.

Related: Gator Bowl Pick and Prediction

Against normal receivers, King essentially cuts the field in half, which is why it was a big boost for the Nittany Lions when he decided to go ahead and play in the bowl game before leaving for the NFL.

And that makes life harder for one Jaxson Dart, who’s directed the Rebels’ offense well but also didn’t face a lot of difficult assignments. Against Alabama and Georgia, things didn’t go so well, as the Rebels combined to score 27 points. Dart’s going to have to be more effective than he was in those two games to get Mississippi an NY6 win.

The Pick

It’s going to be a breath of fresh air to actually see teams who look like they did in the regular season. Penn State managed to avoid most opt-outs and Ole Miss is a team dominated by underclassmen, so both schools should have teams that look pretty close to how they did in the regular season.

Last year kind of told us how this game might go when Penn State met Utah in the Rose Bowl. The Nittany Lions played excellent football, feeding off a lack of respect and stating their case as a team overlooked because of the Big Ten’s giants. I think the Penn State defense rules the day again.

Dan’s Picks  

 Penn State -4.5 

 Under 49.5   


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