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Betting On The 2017 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic

The 8th USC Trojans were left out of the College Football Playoff, but they’ll get a chance to prove the Committee wrong when they take on the 5th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2017 Cotton Bowl.

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2017 Cotton Bowl: USC Trojans vs Ohio State Buckeyes

When: December 29, 2017, 8:30 PM ET
Where: AT&T Stadium
Spread: Ohio State -7.5
Total: 64.5
Moneyline: Ohio State -285 vs USC +245

Betting on USC Trojans

Despite the Trojans finishing with the same record as the Buckeyes and of their tougher schedule, they were left out of the College Football Playoff conversation, unlike Ohio State who was in the CFP conversation until the last week of the season.

This will likely spur them on to play this game with a big chip on their shoulder to prove the Committee wrong in the Cotton Bowl.

The Trojans started the season with high hopes but fell short of the mark with a couple of losses that stopped their national championship aspirations.

USC lost to #16 Washington State by three points and was blown out by Notre Dame. However, they also had wins over #22 Arizona and Stanford that were ranked #14 and #12 respectively when they played.

The Trojans have the 25th ranked offense in the country, averaging 34.5 points per game which means they’ll basically go on the field to try to outscore their opponent.

And, while many people are expecting Sam Darnold to shoulder the offense, it’ll probably come down to the Trojans’ running game if they’re to win.

Expect Ronald Jones to have a long day of work which is something he’s probably used to. The junior running back has racked up 814 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in the last five games.

He faces a tough challenge however because Ohio State’s defense has held opponents to just 3.0 yards per carry on the year.

Among other things, it’s probably Darnold’s last college football game because he’ll likely be taken up in the 2018 NFL Draft if he declares after the game which is why this is an important match for him.

Defensively, USC gave up 26.3 points per game this year which is 60th in the country, but against the top-scoring Buckeyes they’ll have their work cut out for them.

Nevertheless, the way to beat the Buckeyes seems to be to have an efficient quarterback as was proved when Baker Mayfield and Nathan Stanley combined for 612 passing yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in both of the Buckeyes losses.

Betting on Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes saw their College Playoff hopes go up in smoke when the Committee gave the last spot to the Crimson Tide without any consideration to the fact that Alabama didn’t play in their conference title game or that Ohio State won the Big Ten.

However, some might argue that the Buckeyes were given the benefit of the doubt last season when they didn’t win the Big Ten and were crushed by the Clemson Tigers in their playoff game.

Also, the Buckeyes lost by 55 points to Iowa which was likely a deciding factor in losing the playoff spot. Ohio State did get back to doing their job and since the loss has held opponents to just 14.5 point and 223.3 yards.

Both of Ohio State’s losses were blowouts that didn’t shine well on them.

The Buckeyes face a tough offense that has a quarterback that is arguably the best in the country, so the defense will have to work extra hard if they’re to slow down Darnold and company.

Offensively, the Buckeyes rely on whatever J.T Barrett can come up with. The senior is efficient via the pass and the run, but has a tendency to be careless with the ball and could land them in hot waters against the ball-hawking USC secondary.

Should Barrett not avoid silly turnovers, it’ll be a long night for the Buckeyes.

After last year’s embarrassment against Clemson, coach Urban Meyer has undoubtedly prepped his team well this time around, but they’ll need to work hard to gain the win over the Trojans.

However, if they avoid making too many mistakes, they should be able to come away with the victory.

USC Trojans vs Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Trends

  • The total has gone OVER in 8 of Ohio State's last 10 games.
  • Ohio State is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games against the Pac-12.
  • The total has gone OVER in 5 of USC's last 7 games.
  • USC is 0-6 ATS in its last 6 games against the Big Ten.
  • USC is 1-8 SU and ATS in its last 9 games as an underdog.

Expert Prediction: The Buckeyes are the eight-point favorites to win the game. I expect Ohio State to win, but it’ll be the Trojans that will cover so I’m taking USC at +8.