Rose Bowl Picks: Side & Total Preview

Jeff Grant

Thursday, December 26, 2013 12:51 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013 12:51 PM GMT

The Michigan State Spartans are making their first Rose Bowl appearance since 1988, while the Stanford Cardinal return to Pasadena for a second consecutive year.

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Big Ten/Pac-12 Conference matchup, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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Taking things to a higher level

Michigan State will make its first-ever Bowl Championship Series appearance on Jan. 1, 2014, as it has won its last nine games since suffering its only defeat at Notre Dame back on Sept. 21, 2013.

The Spartans finished their Big Ten regular-season schedule with a perfect 8-0 record for the first time in school history—leading directly to making a seventh consecutive bowl appearance.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 7-5 SU and 9-2 ATS as an underdog, with the UNDER going 7-5 in that situation.

Getting it done against the best

Stanford has won its last 10 games against ranked opponents, including a perfect 6-0 SU mark in that situation during the 2013 regular season.

The Cardinal are making a return trip to the Rose Bowl, as they picked up a 20-14 victory over the Wisconsin Badgers as four-point neutral-site favorites in last year’s edition, while going UNDER the betting total of 47.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 15-8 SU and 16-6-1 ATS versus teams with a winning record.

All about the defense

College football handicappers are going to have an interest in backing the underdog in this spot, considering the Spartans ranked No. 1 in the FBS in allowing just 248.2 yards per game.

Michigan State has relied heavily on that particular unit in recent years—leading direction to an impressive 41-12 SU record in its last 53 games dating back to the 2010 campaign.

Strength of schedule

The Cardinal played the fourth toughest schedule in the country according to the latest Sagarin ratings, while the Pac-12 was seen as a tougher conference in comparison to the Big Ten throughout the year.

Stanford’s strength on the offensive end is running the football, which is reflected in its 32-2 SU record under head coach David Shaw when out-rushing an opponent.

Make sure to check out our:

Rose Bowl Picks: Michigan State vs. Stanford

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cardinal for their college football pick, as they’ve gone 30-4 SU and 20-13-1 ATS as a favorite the last two-plus seasons.

Total players will want to take a look at the OVER, with the Spartans climbing above the betting total in four of its last five neutral site games.

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