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Ole Miss vs. Penn State: Picks, best bets for Peach Bowl in Atlanta on Saturday

The Rebels and Nittany Lions will meet at the Benz this afternoon. Penn State enters this NY6 bowl as the favorite.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Penn State at Michigan State Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl will take place this afternoon as the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels will battle the No. 10 Penn State Nittany Lions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This is the second of the New Year’s Six bowl games taking place this weekend and kickoff is set for noon ET on ESPN.

Ole Miss (10-2, 6-2 SEC) is in an NY6 bowl game for the second time in three years after another 10-win campaign under Lane Kiffin. The Rebels acquitted themselves well through a tough slate, with their only losses coming against SEC Championship Game participants Alabama and Georgia. Quarterback Jaxson Dart threw for just under 3,000 passing yards on the year while running back Quinshon Judkins earned First Team All-SEC honors with over 1,000 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns for the campaign.

Penn State (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) is back in an NY6 bowl for a third time in five years and while that’s a significant accomplishment, there’s some disappointment heading into today’s game. The Nittany Lions mostly ran through its Big Ten schedule, but once again came up short against the league’s heavyweights in Ohio State and Michigan. That doesn’t take away from some of the individual success the Nittany Lion players experienced throughout the year. Quarterback Drew Allar threw 23 touchdowns to just one interception while running backs Kaytron Allen/Nicholas Singleton proved to be a lethal 1-2 punch. And in the trenches, offensive tackle Ola Fashanu and defensive end Chop Robinson are both projected as potential top 15 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

SP+ Rankings

Ole Miss: 14 overall, 21 offense, 21 defense
Penn State: 4 overall, 26 offense, 4 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

Ole Miss

WR Bralon Brown – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Jeremiah Dillon – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Zakhari Franklin – Out (No longer with team)
TE Kyirin Heath – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR JJ Henry – Out (Transfer Portal)
QB Spencer Sanders – Out (Academically Ineligible)
WR Larry Simmons – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Rayf Vinson – Out (Transfer Portal)

Penn State

DE Chop Robinson - Out (Opt-Out)
WR Cristian Driver - Out (Transfer Portal)
CB Johnny Dixon - Out (Opt Out)
WR Harrison Wallace III - Questionable (Arm)

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Ole Miss: 6-4-2 ATS
Penn State: 9-3 ATS

Total in 2023

Ole Miss: Over 5-7
Penn State: Over 6-6

Team Pace

Ole Miss: 2.58 plays per minute of offense
Penn State: 2.17 plays per minute of offense

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Penn State -4.5
Total: 50
Moneyline: Penn State -198, Ole Miss +164

Opening line: Penn State -4
Opening total: 49

Weather

The retractable roof at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be closed, so weather won’t be a factor.

Our Best Bet for the Peach Bowl

Ole Miss +4.5

Both teams are in similar boats as 10-win teams who weren’t able to knock off the superpowers of their respective leagues this season. The Rebels and Nittany Lions have a lot to prove heading into next season and I think they’ll both get up for this game and make it interesting. Both programs have experienced some attrition since the end of the regular season and on Penn State’s side, it is dealing with the loss of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to Duke. With the combination of that and Chop Robinson/Johnny Dixon not being present, I think Ole Miss’ offense can take advantage and cover.