Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Preview
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park
When: Saturday, September 9, 3:30 PM ET
TV Broadcast: ABC
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Betting on the Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0)
Pittsburgh lost top running back James Conner to the NFL over the offseason, but the Panthers didn’t seem to miss him that much in their 28-21 season-opening road victory over the Youngstown Penguins last Saturday.
The Panthers ran for 208 rushing yards against the Penguins, which was more than their average of 125.2 rushing yards per game last year. Qadree Ollison comfortably assumed his role as the new lead back of the squad, as the junior rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns on a heavy workload of 22 touches.
USC transfer Max Browne, meanwhile, had a so-so job in his Pittsburgh debut, passing for just 140 yards and a touchdown on 17 of 24 attempts. While that was enough to get Pittsburgh past the pesky Penguins, Browne will have to improve on his numbers against Penn State’s defense that was fresh off a terrifying clobbering of Akron in its respective opener.
Some defensive shortcomings from the Youngstown game will also have to be fixed by the Panthers, who allowed the Penguins to outgain them in total yards, 418-348.
Dating back to 1997, Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS in five meetings with the Nittany Lions.
Betting on the Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0)
Perhaps still on a high following a surprising Big Ten title win last season, Penn State kicked off its 2017-18 season like a house on fire, by administering a merciless 52-0 beatdown of the Akron Zips last Saturday. Penn State showed no conscience on both ends of the field in the leveling of the Zips, outgaining Akron by a huge margin, 569-159.
Star running back Saquon Barkley had his way in the Akron game, rushing for 172 yards and two touchdowns, while also converting three catches to 54 receiving yards.
Barkley’s going to do plenty of the heavy lifting on offense against Pittsburgh, and it’s reasonable to expect another big game from the junior running back, as the Panthers showed little against Youngstown to discourage, in any degree, Penn State from pounding the ball to Barkley. It is at this point that we bring up the fact that Barkley rushed for 85 yards and four touchdowns on 20 carries against Pittsburgh last year.
The big fat egg Akron laid against Penn State speaks volumes about the Nittany Lions’ defense. The passing defense was particularly brutal, allowing Akron to get just 86 yards on air, with its quarterbacks and receivers under pressure. Penn State recorded three sacks and an interception in that game.
Penn State is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games when it was the home team.
Penn State (-21) wins, 35-31.
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