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Rose Bowl Pick

Michigan State

vs.

Stanford

1/1/14

As usual, the Rose Bowl is set to be one of the better games of the bowl season featuring two of the best teams from two of the best conferences in college football. Coming out of the tough Pac-12, Stanford has risen to -6.5 point favorites over Michigan State at 5 dimes sportsbook where you'll also find more prop on this game than any other book.

This game could fall in line with what last year brought in as Stanford won 20-14 against Wisconsin. Tough defenses facing off against power-rushing games doesn't usually promise a ton of points hence why the over/under is around 45 points. The Spartans will try and win just the second Rose Bowl for the Big Ten in the past 11 tries.

The betting public is split on this one as Stanford has a slight edge in terms of wagers coming in on their side at sportsbook.com, at 53%.

MSU will be making its first Rose Bowl appearance in 26 years after finishing with a 12-1 record. Its only loss came back in September at Notre Dame in a game that could have easily been won. Like many teams in the Big Ten, the Spartans had a rather weak schedule, but their final win in the conference championship game against Ohio State showed they can play with anyone.

Stanford finished with one less win, but showed its dominance with a 38-14 win over Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship game. When this team puts everything into a game, not many can beat them. The Cardinal's two losses came on the road at Utah and USC, but beat teams like Oregon and UCLA at home, as well as ASU twice.

The biggest news going into this matchup may be that MSU senior middle linebacker and captain has been suspended for the game which may see more people lean toward Stanford here. Max Bullough was the anchor in this defense and without him problems may arise against the Cardinal rushing attack.

Nevertheless, the Spartans still have one of the top defenses in the country, allowing the fewest rushing yards per game, and also having one of the best secondaries led by Darqueze Dennard, the Thorpe Award winner for top DB in the nation.

Against better teams, Michigan State has been beaten on the ground by the likes of Nebraska and Ohio State, so there will definitely be opportunity for Stanford.

Running back Tyler Gaffney is expected to receive a heavy dose. He is huge for this offense with 1,618 yards and 20 touchdowns on the year. Gaffney scored a TD in all but one game and hit at least 95 yards in his final eight games. This could be a game where he sees close to 30 carries. QB Kevin Hogan leads the passing game, although he isn't used a ton due to Stanford's dominant defense. The most attempts Hogan has had all season is 27 in one game. Still, he's thrown for a nice 20 TDs and nine INTs. Playmaker Ty Montgomery (937 yards, 10 TDs) is one to watch out for, not only on offense, but returning kicks as well.

The Cardinal will face an offense in almost an exact mold of themselves. Spartans running back Jeremy Langford came out of nowhere and finished with 1,338 yards and 17 touchdowns. He closed the season with eight straight 100-yard games and 13 TDs in those games. Breaking through the Stanford front seven will be key for MSU in this one. Quarterback Connor Cook has come on lately and suddenly poses a bit of a threat in the passing game. He finished with 20 TDs and five INTs for the year, but probably played his best in the Big Ten Championship game, throwing for 304 yards and three TDs. Cook doesn't use one exclusive receiver, often targeting a large number each game. Three different receivers have at least 34 receptions on the year, but less than 40.

This is Stanford's fourth straight BCS bowl game and the Cardinal have covered in all four of them. They are also 11-4 ATS in their last 15 non-conference games. The Spartans are 0-4 ATS in their last four vs. the Pac-12, but are 18-7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and are 4-0-1 ATS on the road this season.

Rose Bowl Pick - $20

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