The Akron Zips will have the thankless task of being the first salvo in the Penn State Nittany Lions’ season of college football betting favouriteness.
- Date: Saturday, 2nd September
- Time: 12:05 PM
- Venue: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
- Online sportsbook NCAA football lines:
Akron +33 (-110) +7000
Penn State -33 (-110) -18500
Zipping through the finish line
The Zips finished 2016 on a four-game losing streak, bowl-eligibility slipping through their fingers as they simply could not get that coveted sixth win. Akron started 4-2 but their running game got its feet cut off as a result of Warren Ball’s injury. The consequent switch to a more pass-heavy started a downward spiral for the Zips. Which is not to say that quarterback Thomas Woodson is not an adequate signal-caller, but if he couldn’t turn the tide with wide receivers JoJo Natson Jr. and Jerome Lane on the roster, one has to wonder whether he’ll be able to lead the Zips to bowliciousness without them – though Austin Wolf is not averse to risking life and limb to make a catch. Interestingly, Akron has won every game in which Wolf has caught a touchdown pass. In any case, Ball is healthy again and expected to be barreling through defenses with his 225-pound frame. All things considered, the Zips are not likely to repeat their soccer counterparts success against Penn State.
— Akron Zips M Soccer (@ZipsMSoc) August 16, 2017
But if Akron can make it out of Beaver Stadium in one piece, then the Zips have a pretty good shot at returning to a bowl game and even make a run for the MAC East title.
Will the Nittany Lions make the leap from good to great?
For the longest time Penn State was mired in a state of college football betting aurea mediocritas. That’s why even though the last time they had a losing record was in 2004, the Lions’ 2016 season can still be considered a breakout campaign. PSU won divisional and conference titles for the first time since 2011 and 2008 respectively, and returned to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 2008 – even though the Lions lost to USC. But the true indication that Penn State is expected to be a force to be reckoned with is the fact that College Football Analytics projects the Lions to finish the regular season with an undefeated 12-0 record – including an 11-point win over the Pittsburgh Panthers, a one-point win over the Michigan Wolverines, and a 42-32 win over the Ohio State Buckeyes (whom PSU beat last year for the first time in four years). Those teams won’t go down without a fight, but the Lions have thrived on competitiveness at summer camp, led by 2016 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year and Heisman college football betting contender Saquon Barkley. “Even if you’re not taking reps, you still have to be a leader, and be there for your teammates, and push them to take the reps personal and try to do the best that they can,” the running back told PennLive.com. Everybody is high on Barkley these days, but no one more so than defensive line coach Sean Spencer.