Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions(1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 9th, 3:30pm
Where: Beaver Stadium - University Park, PA
by Bob, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PITT +20 / PSU -20
Over/Under Total: 68
Saturday at 3:30pm we have an in-state battle between the sixth ranked Penn State Nittany Lions and the 1-0 Pitt Panthers. The series between Penn State and Pittsburgh dates back to 1893. Since that time, these two have faced off 97 times with Penn State having the series edge with a record of 50-43-4. Yes, the Nittany Lions have the historical advantage, but Pitt has won the last two contests and just last season the loss to Pitt could be what kept Penn State out of the college football playoff although they won the Big Ten Title. This WILL BE a revenge game for the Nittany Lions, the only question is Pitt ready for the challenge?
The bookmakers and public appear to think that Penn State is on a mission to make Pitt pay for what they did last year. The Nittany Lions are sitting as a 20 point favorite over the Panthers and the total points are set at 68 combined. As for the public, 61% like Penn State to get the job done at home while 57% likes the final score to stay under the posted total of 68.
As a born and raised SEC guy and Georgia Bulldogs fan, I feel for Penn State. They were absolutely robbed by the “playoff committee” last season. The Nittany Lions belonged in the playoff and Ohio State did not. That can be seen by the 31-0 beatdown Clemson put on the Buckeyes. Ohio State was not even in the same league as the other three teams in the playoff. Well, Penn State has a chance this season to put up or shut up. They are on mission to get themselves back in position to win the Big Ten again and this time represent the conference in the playoff. After week one, it appears the Nittany Lions are focused. They destroyed Akron 52-0 and yes, before you say to yourself “but it was Akron” well lets not forget how UNLV, Baylor, and a few others faired in week one. Penn State did what they were supposed to do. Handle business, win big, prevent injury….they did all of the above and now Pitt is up next.
Penn State was able to put up some good numbers on Akron. Senior quarterback, Trace McSorley threw for 280 yards on 72% completion for two scores. He did add in an interception, but that happens. As for the Penn State running game, Saquon Barkley ran for 172 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. Of course, Pitt will play a tougher defense but if Penn State can stay balanced like that, they will be hard to stop. As for the defensive side of the ball, the NIttany Lions need to just keep doing what they have done. Play tough, force turnovers, and not give up the big plays. This really should not be an issue for Penn State..but there is no time to stumble.
Pitt usually has a pretty solid team, but this season I have a feeling they are in for a long and dreadful year. They struggled with Youngstown State in week one and now have to go on the road to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions who are not out just to get back at Pitt from last season, but to prove to the entire nation they were screwed last year when the playoff teams were selected. The Panthers are in serious trouble but I am not worried about what it will take for them to win the game…I wanna know if they can stay within the 20 point spread. The keys are simple, slow down the Penn State run game. Yes, McSorely can throw the rock around, but I think Pitt has a better chance of making plays on defense forcing Penn State to throw the ball. If they can stop the run and make a few plays that could help. On the offensive side, get their own running game going. This is a tough task seeing as how Penn State plays solid defense. Fact is though, Pitt needs to shorten this game up. If the game reaches the posted total of points, they are DEAD. This game needs to stay in the 20s or low 30s if they have a shot to cover or MAYBE, just maybe pull off the win.
Typically I do not like picking teams that are favored so heavily, especially so early in the season, but to be honest, I think Penn State is seriously that much better than Pitt. I think Penn State comes out and puts this away very early. I am predicting a 44-13 type game as the Nittany Lions move to 2-0 not only overall but against the spread.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK PENN STATE TO GET THE BIG HOME WIN AND COVER THE -20
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