Camping World Stadium in Orlando will welcome fans from No. 12 Penn State and No. 14 Kentucky on New Year's Day for a 1 p.m. kickoff at the 2019 Citrus Bowl. With two top-15 teams in action, the VRBO Citrus Bowl should be one of the premier bowl games of the entire 2018-19 college football bowl schedule and everyone from Average Joes to professional bettors will be zeroed in on the action. Action ahead of kickoff has been solidly on the Wildcats, driving the line down from Penn State -6.5 all the way to 4.5. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas expects to be scored, is 47.5. Huge stars like Penn State's Trace McSorley and Kentucky's Josh Allen could easily swing the game in either direction, so before you make your Penn State vs. Kentucky picks, be sure to check out the Citrus Bowl predictions from SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh.
The renowned co-founder of AccuScore enters bowl season on an impressive 16-9 run on his college football picks, and he's had an especially keen eye for the tendencies of Penn State, entering the Citrus Bowl 2019 on an impressive 10-3 run on his recent picks involving the Nittany Lions. Anyone who has followed him is way, way up.
Now he's locked in on Penn State vs. Kentucky, and just released his 2018 Citrus Bowl picks. He's only sharing it at SportsLine.
As both teams set their sights on Citrus Bowl 2019, Oh knows that one huge advantage for the Nittany Lions will be their efficiency in the red-zone on both offense and defense. Penn State has scored touchdowns on 39 of its 52 red-zone possessions and come away with points 92.3 percent of the time. That's the sixth-highest rate in FBS, and when you combine that with their efficiency on defense inside the 20-yard line, it accumulates to a winning formula under coach James Franklin.
The Nittany Lions shut out their opponents on 28.1 percent of trips inside the red-zone and hold to a field goal or less on 40.6 percent of opportunities inside the 20.
But just because Penn State is extremely efficient inside the red-zone doesn't mean it will cover the Citrus Bowl spread against the Wildcats.
The Wildcats spent half their season as the underdogs while oddsmakers tried to adjust to the program's rising profile. That was always when All-SEC running back Benny Snell Jr. did his best work. As a 13.5-point favorite at Florida back on Sept. 7, Snell ran for 175 yards in an outright upset. Two weeks later, he dropped 165 yards and four scores in another outright upset over Mississippi State (-9.5).
Facing their seventh game of the season as an underdog, expect Snell to factor heavily into the Kentucky offense's gameplan. Kentucky is 4-1-1 against the spread as a 'dog this season and 3-1-1 in road/neutral games. The Wildcats obliterated in-state rival Louisville last time out, winning 56-10 as a 17-point favorite.
We can tell you Oh is leaning toward the under, but he also has an extremely strong play against the spread. He's evaluated the latest Citrus Bowl odds and discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is and who to back at SportsLine.
Who wins Penn State vs. Kentucky? And what crucial x-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over in the Citrus Bowl, all from the data scientist who's 10-3 on Penn State picks, and find out.