Akron Zips (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date/Time: Saturday, September 2nd, 2017 12:00 PM ET
Where: Beaver Stadium State College, PA
by KEITH, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PSU -30.5
Over/Under Total: 66
The Akron Zips of the Mid-American Conference will head off to Happy Valley to square off with the defending Big 10 Champions, the Penn State Nittany Lions in a Week 1 fixture on Saturday, September 2nd that will be broadcasted on ABC for regional audiences at 12:00 PM ET. Penn State is one of the most talked about teams entering 2017, as they return two key playmakers in quarterback Trace McSorley and Heisman contender Saquan Barkley at running back. With Coach James Franklin catapulting the Nittany Lions back to prominence with a Rose Bowl appearance to cap off 2016, Penn State is eyeing College Football Playoff possibilities in 2017. First, they will have to get through Akron.
The Zips are no stranger to playing in hostile environments. In 2016, the Zips traveled to Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin to square off with the Wisconsin Badgers. Despite Bucky spotting a load of points, the Zips failed to cover in said situation and were absolutely humiliated when they were defeated 54-10. With respect to that result in 2016, the forecast here mirrors plausible expectations in that the consensus are expecting a similar outcome to take shape. Regardless of the hideous loss sustained against Bucky, Akron would continue on next week to take it to the Marshall Thundering Herd in its own stead and hang 65 points on Big Green in Huntington. Akron would follow this up with a narrow loss to Appalachian State where they scored 38 points in the defeat. Once again, the defense failed to hold up its end of the deal and for that reason above all others, the Zips finished 5-7 in 2016 on the outside looking in for a bowl bid. The Zips feature a seasoned coach in Terry Bowden who has been a staple of the game for a long time. Bowden has this program heading in the right direction and despite Penn State being all-but-crowned victors of this game, the Zips can be a problem if Penn State overlooks the Kangaroo Kids.
Such a scenario can easily manifest as the Nittany Lions will be looking for vindication against cross-state rival Pitt when they host them on September 9th in State College. Penn State held a large lead over the Panthers in their 2016 meeting but Pitt would battle back and escape with a 42-39 win. Without question, PSU has that date circled on their calendar and with all that taken into consideration they may get caught looking ahead. Furthermore, as we have highlighted in our analysis of Oklahoma against UTEP, Penn State is another name brand team that is well-known by even the most casual college football fan. Similar to Oklahoma, anyone hoping to back the Nittany Lions can expect to pay a premium. There is tremendous hype surrounding the Nittany Lions after what they had achieved in 2016, and with respect to their pedigree, it is probable that the point spread in this Week One affair is also inflated. By recognition of their name alone, Penn State will likely inflict a heavier price on takers. We saw a situation take shape in Penn States Week Three contest against Temple last year, where the Nittany Lions had to survive to get a win despite being heavily favored in the contest. While it would be classed as absurd for Akron to pull off an upset, the Zips can cover alone by virtue of the fact they have a potent enough offense to stay closer than this number projects. Lets not forget that the backbone of Penn States success is actually their offense, not their defense. On a multitude of occasions, the Penn State defense had been exposed in 2016. Akron if overlooked, can certainly do the same. This is an Akron football team that averaged 33 points per game offensively in 2016. Finally, there is one other consideration that must be made; while Penn State may view this is a warm-up game, Akron is relishing at the opportunity to play on national television as it will afford them to chance to dazzle audiences with their own proficiencies. Once again, we are recommending to take the points.
KEITHs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: AKRON +30.5
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