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September 22, 2017

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Vegas Play of the Day: Rose Bowl

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Michael Conroy / AP

Penn State celebrates after defeating Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in Indianapolis. Penn State won 38-31.

We’re entering the third season of the annual South Point-lined Play of the Day competition, effective July 1.

Starting bankrolls have reset to $10,000, with the maximum bet being to win $1,000 and the minimum wager $300. Ray Brewer won the 2015-2016 season, after Taylor Bern prevailed in 2014-2015. Bern stepped away in the middle of the 2016-2017 season with a 16-12 record and $13,317 bankroll, with Mike Grimala taking his place.

Penn State plus-7.5 vs. USC in Rose Bowl: $550 to win $500

I missed the plus-7.5 the first time around but told myself I’d dive on the line if the opportunity presented itself again. Here we are.

The Trojans have dominated the betting action, letting this number get too high in a game between teams that are close to evenly matched. USC deserves an edge for more or less getting to play at home, but not much beyond that.

I’d make USC a 4-point favorite. Defense is getting overlooked in this matchup, namely Penn State’s defense.

The Nittany Lions might have the best defense USC has faced since its season-opening embarrassment against Alabama. The Trojans are not going to get to the 38 points they averaged during their eight-game winning streak.

Penn State’s offense has improved just as much as USC’s anyway. Running back Saquon Barkley has gotten the most notoriety, but quarterback Trace McSorley has arguably been even better.

The Nittany Lions are a big-play offense, and USC has a tendency to give up big plays. That will keep Penn State in this game.

It’s going to be a good Rose Bowl.

Current Standings: Keefer (31-23-2, $10,761), Brewer (21-17-1, $10,645), Grimala (2-2, $10,000), Granger (4-8, $6,550)

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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