In a role reversal not uncommon in NCAA football betting, the Penn State Nittany Lions will face the Pittsburgh Panthers as the heavy favorites to win and cover the spread. In their encounter last season, the 97th between the two programs, Pitt enter, and, by the same token, left as the fave, even though head coach Pat Narduzzi was, according to Penn Live.com, under the impression that he had engineered an upset.
- Date: Saturday, September 9th
- Time: 3:30 PM
- Venue: Beaver Stadium, Pennsylvania
College Football Sportsbook Online Odds:
Pittsburgh University +21 (-110) 66½ (-110) +950
Penn State University -21 (-110) 66½ (-110) -1450
Hitting the Browne note
The Panthers decided to take it easy against Youngstown State on Saturday, believing the wind was blowing their way. Next thing they knew, they had blown a 21-point lead and had to unretract their claws and fight tooth and nail. In the end, Pitt managed to escape with a hard-fought 28-21 win, though it took them two overtime periods to be able to get the job done.
USC transfer and new Panthers starting quarterback Max Browne threw for 140 yards and a touchdown. Pitt’s offense was very basic, perhaps to allow Browne to acclimate himself. The honeymoon is officially over, though. Browne will now have to face not only PSU’s defense but also the raucous crowd at Beaver Stadium. The Panthers o-line is missing a few of the links that made it so offensive against Penn last season, but can still contribute to the NCAA football betting total going over, as it has, for Pitt, gone in 11 of their last 13 games and six of their last seven on the road. Something similar cannot be said so easily about the Panthers covering the spread, as we’ll soon see.
The Penn is mightier this time
Considering that the Lions scored, against Akron on Saturday, more points, 52, than Pitt and Youngstown combined, then Penn State would just need a little help from the Panthers for the 66½ total to go over. Running back Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 172 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries against the Zips, alone could have a field day with a Pitt defense that allowed Youngstown State over four yards a rush and 7.21 yards per play overall. Quarterback Trace McSorley threw a regrettable pick against Pitt last season but has grown a lot as a player in the intervening year. McSorley tossed two TD passes against Akron and ran for another. All things considered, Penn’s offense, which has scored at least 35 points in eight games in a row, is a spread-covering machine, going 10-0 ATS in their last 10 straight games, including their last five at home.
Penn State's offense has put up 35+ points in 8 straight games.
That's the longest active streak among Power 5 teams. 👀 pic.twitter.com/5p7ZYWtCqT
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) September 7, 2017
A three touchdown, with their respective extra points, NCAA football betting spread, might not seem entirely feasible, but whereas the Panthers took their collective feet off the pedal against Youngstown last weekend, this time they are more likely to simply run out of fuel against PSU’s voracious offense.