When the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Northwestern Wildcats meet for some NCAA football betting action, it will take your run of the mill sibling rivalry to a whole new level. The former’s punter Blake Gillikin and the latter’s long snapper Tyler Gillikin are twin brothers who watched the 2015 encounter between the two programs game on different floors of the same house. Not only did the Wildcats, on that occasion, beat PSU, but also covered the spread, and Blake hasn’t heard the end of it ever since (well, maybe not about the covering-the-spread part). This year, the losing twin will become the Man in the Iron Pants. Or not.
- Date: October 7
- Time: 12:05 PM
- Venue: Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
- Sportsbook Online Odds for Fans Gambling on College Football:
Penn State -14½ (-110) 53½ (-110) -600
Northwestern +14½ (-110) 53½ (-110) +450
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald joined the ever-growing throng of opposing coaches who claim – though not at all unjustifiably – that PSU’s running back Saquon Barkley is the best thing since sliced bread, when, even though no one asked, he just blurted out that “Barkley is maybe the best player I’ve ever seen on tape.”
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) October 3, 2017
When asked how the Wildcats would stop Barkley, Fitzy said, “He’s going to make his plays, and we’ve got to respond. He’s just a great player, and I’ll be a huge fan of his after 4 o’clock on Saturday for the rest of the year to win the Heisman. I’d vote for him. Five games in, I’d vote for him.” Somehow doesn’t quite fill one with confidence that NU will be able to cover the 14½-point NCAA football betting spread, let alone win the game, though they have been doing a good job of the former part lately. Northwestern is 5-0 ATS in their last five games in October, 7-2 ATS in their last nine Big Ten games, and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 overall games.
Burning the ball at both ends
The Lions have been, meanwhile, so effective on both sides of the ball that, even though they are on double-digit conference and regular season winning streaks, including two 50-plus-point shutouts, the defense, which averages just 9.4 points allowed per game, and ranks third in FBS and No. 1 in the Big Ten, almost invariably, with a single exception this season, manages to find a way to keep the total from going over. Which is why it was such an oddity when PSU scored fewer than 30 points and won by fewer than 19 points, both for the first time this year, against Iowa, against whom they also failed to cover. The Lions, however, bounced back with a 45-14 trouncing of Indiana on Saturday, picking up the SU as well as the ATS win. Penn State is 4-1 ATS in their last five games on the road, 4-0-1 ATS in their last five October games, and 12-2-2 against the NCAA football betting in their last 16 overall games.