NCAA betting fans will be treated to a new installment – and the first in 16 years – of the Penn State–Pittsburgh football rivalry on Saturday, September 10th at Heinz Field in Pennsylvania.
Penn State +6 (-110) +190
Pittsburgh U -6 (-110) -230
The last time these two teams met the Panthers defeated the Nittany Lions 12-0 on September 16th, 2000. Similarly, Pittsburgh is the college football betting favorite this weekend. The Panthers are fresh off a 28-7 win over the Villanova Wildcats on September 3rd. running back James Conner returned to the gridiron for the first time since being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma last December, and rushed for 53 yards on 17 carries, caught one touchdown, and ran for another. Additionally, Quadree Henderson had four catches for 35 yards and a big kickoff return for a touchdown. Defensive-wise, Pitt kept Villanova quarterback Zach Bednarczyk to approximately 50% accuracy, and sacked him a few times – more like Sack(ed) Bednarczyk, amirite?
However, the Panthers will have to play better, and improve both the passing and kicking game, if they want to defeat Penn State. The Lions beat the Kent State Golden Flashes 33-13 on September 3rd. New offensive coordinator Joe Moorehead gave NCAA betting fans a glimpse of what they might expect from Penn State this season, and may still have a few tricks left up his sleeve – at least according to wide receiver Chris Godwin, who finished with seven receptions for 67 yards. Starting QB Trace McSorley finished 16 for 31 for 209 passing yards and two touchdowns, including a 43-yarder to DeAndre Thompkins for both players’ career longs in passing and catching. The Lions’ secondary unit not only talked the talk but walked the walk, combining for 30 of 81 total tackles.
According to Chip Patterson and Robby Kalland of CBS Sports the Panthers are the best Pennsylvania team, and it does stand to reason that Pitt will finish the season with a better win-loss record than Penn State if one takes into account the strength of the ACC as opposed to the Big Ten. In 2015, for instance, the Panthers had an 8-5 record (6-2 in ACC play), while the Lions went 7-6 (4-4 in Big Ten play). However, it is Penn State that leads the all-time series between the two colleges 50-42-4. In other words, the Lions have been historically superior, but in the here and now – which is all that really matters – the Panthers have the best football program, headed by coach Pat Narduzzi in his second year at the University of Pittsburgh. Having said that, neither team is an NCAA betting favorite to win any titles, even within their respective conferences, but that actually might make the game even more meaningful – two colleges battling over that intangible commodity known as ‘bragging rights’ that allows fans to say “my team may not be the best of them all, but it is definitely better than your team.” Furthermore, the outcome of the game will have an influence on future recruiting classes.