2017 Cotton Bowl Analyst Pick: USC vs Ohio State

Written by Rohit Ghosh
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Cotton Bowl: USC vs Ohio State

This year's Cotton Bowl features a pair of 11-2 teams as Pac-12 champs USC take on Ohio State in what will be their eighth time playing each other in a bowl game. This is, however, the first time the two sides meet at this time of the year outside of Pasadena, CA, home of the Rose Bowl.

The Trojans won 18-15 on the road the last time the two teams met in 2009.

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Our computer has simulated every Bowl game 10,000 times based on trends, team and player statistics: College Football Bowl Picks

Vegas Odds
Ohio State opened as a 6.5-point favorite before settling in a point higher in most books. The total moved up a half-point since opening at 64.

Betting Line: Ohio State -7.5
Total: 64.5

At the time of publication, 55 percent of the public were taking the points and picking USC.

69 percent of the action on the total has been on the OVER.

Betting Trend(s)
• USC is just 3-8 against the spread (ATS) in its last 11 games.
• The total has gone OVER in five of USC's last seven games.

What to Watch For

QB Matchup: Ohio State's J.T. Barrett vs USC's Sam Darnold -- all eyes will be on the QB matchup at this year's Cotton Bowl. Barrett is just 61 yards shy of a 3,000-yard season, but Ohio State coaches will be focusing on limiting his turnovers in this week's season finale. He has thrown 8 INTs in his last five games, including two in the Big Ten title game vs Wisconsin. USC's front seven has been great this year, led by LB Uchenna Nwosu.

Barrett is projected to finish with 209 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, to go along with 76 rushing yards and 1 TD on the ground.

Darnold is projected to finish with 290 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.

Runnin' Wild: Trojans RB Ronald Jones II has run for 120 or more yards in each of his last five games.

Jones is projected to finish with 124 yards on 23 carries; he averages 0.8 TDs per sim.

Analyst's Pick
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