Outback Bowl Picks: Penn State vs. Arkansas

by | Dec 20, 2021 | cfb

Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4, 7-4-1), 1/1/22

Outback Bowl

When: Noon ET Saturday, Jan. 1

Where: Raymond James Stadium

TV: ESPN 2

Point Spread: Penn State -2 (BetOnline - We timed every sportsbook we advertise with regards to how fast they make Bitcoin payouts and these guys were the fastest!)

Over/under: 46.5

It’s the Big Ten vs. the SEC when Penn State meets up with Arkansas in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in Tampa. The Nittany Lions hoped to contend in the Big Ten this season; instead, they lost five games. The Razorbacks, on the other hand, were expected to finish near the bottom of the SEC West this season; instead, they won eight games.
The early betting on this Outback Bowl moved favored Penn State from more than a field goal to less than a field goal. How are we playing this game with our free college football betting pick?

Outback Bowl Betting Odds

College football’s bowl betting lines opened Penn State as a four-point favorite over Arkansas, with an over/under of right around 45. Early betting action then dropped that spread two points to -2 and bumped that total to 46.5.
According to Sagarin’s ratings at USAToday.com, the Lions should be favored by 4.5 points for this game.

Outback Bowl College Football Betting Preview

Penn State disappointed again this season, going just 7-5 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten play, falling from conference contention midway through. The Nittany Lions actually started 5-0, with wins over Wisconsin and Auburn, and 2-0 in Big Ten play. But Penn State then lost three straight to Iowa, Illinois, and Ohio State, close games all, and later lost close ones to eventual Big Ten champion and College Football Playoff qualifier Michigan and Michigan State.
Overall, the Lions lost five games this season by a total of 21 points.

Most recently, Penn State completed its regular season with a 30-27 loss in the snow at East Lansing. The Nittany Lions got outplayed by the Spartans that day but actually led late into the third quarter, before fading.

Nonetheless, Penn State is back in a bowl after missing out last season

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On the other hand, Arkansas was one of college football’s more pleasant surprises this season, winning eight games after going 3-7 last season, finishing 4-4 in SEC play. The Razorbacks started 4-0 this year, with wins over Texas and Texas A&M, then lost three in a row to CFP qualifier Georgia, Ole Miss, and Auburn. But the Hogs then finished 4-1, and the only loss over that span was a 42-35 decision to eventual SEC champion and CFP qualifier Alabama.
Arkansas completed its regular season with a 34-17 win over Missouri.

So the Razorbacks are back in a bowl for the first time since 2016.
These two teams played one common opponent this season; Auburn. The Nittany Lions beat the Tigers in a challenging game at Happy Valley back in September 28-20, while Arkansas lost at home to Auburn in October 38-23. But the Hogs actually out-gained the Tigers by 33 yards while Penn State out-gained Auburn by 16 yards.

This will be the first-ever meeting between these two programs.

More Picks: Get all of our top bowl predictions >>>

College Football Betting Trends

  • Over the last six seasons, the SEC is 11-9 SU but 9-11 ATS against the Big Ten.
  • Penn State is 3-3 SU, 4-2 ATS in bowls under Coach Franklin.
  • Arkansas played 4-4 SU, 4-3-1 ATS against teams that made bowls this season.
  • Penn State played 4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS against teams that made bowls this season.
  • Over the last 10 Outback Bowls, the SEC is 6-4 SU but only 3-6-1 ATS vs. the Big Ten.

Totals Report

The Under is 9-3 in Penn State games this season, which averaged 43 total points.
The Overs was 7-5 in Arkansas games this season, which averaged 55.5 points.

Free College Football Betting Pick

Motivation means a ton to us when handicapping bowl games, and we give Arkansas the check-mark in that department. The Razorbacks are probably happier than hell to be here, playing on New Year’s Day, after winning a total of seven games over their previous three seasons. Also, Arkansas out-rushed opponents this season by 62 yards per game, while Penn State got out-rushed by 30 YPG. So while we don’t like going along with the betting flow, we’ll ride the Hogs here for the outright win. Note: A ton of football bettors got CRUSHED last week with all the freaky NFL results. Many of those bettors will go back to their sportsbook and re-deposit and receive NOTHING from their bookie. Instead of getting zero, you may want to consider grabbing a 50% or 100% promotion from one of the top tier bookies on our sportsbook bonuses list!

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Al McMordie Professional Handicapper

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