Bragging rights in the football-rich state of Pennsylvania are on the line Saturday as rivals Pittsburgh and Penn State square off. The Nittany Lions were No. 6 in the first AP poll of the year but probably move up at least one spot in the new rankings Monday. Who has the upper edge on the betting odds for Saturday’s College Football matchup? Here’s our NCAAF betting between these two teams.
NCAAF Betting Pick on Pittsburgh at Penn State for Week 2WatchESPNRadio: 93.7 The Fan (Pittsburgh) / 104.1 FM (Penn State)Opening NCAAF Betting Lines: PSU -18.5
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- Type of Stadium: Open
Why Bet On Pittsburgh?The Panthers didn’t look great in opening with a 28-21 OT victory over FCS school Youngstown State. The game was much closer than expected but didn’t start out that way. The Panthers led 21-0 at the break and appeared primed to roll to a comfortable win. Even with a limited offensive package, Pitt had 239 total yards to Youngstown State’s 130, and 14 first downs to the Penguins’ five.Youngstown State scored the first three touchdowns after the break — one in the third quarter and two in the fourth — to tie the game at 21. Pitt had a chance to win with four seconds left, but freshman Alex Kessman missed a 38-yard field goal, his second miss of the game, sending the teams to overtime. Jester Weah hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass on the opening possession of overtime to give Pitt the lead, and Bricen Garner picked off Youngstown State’s Hunter Wells in the end zone. Qadree Ollison ran for 91 yards and two touchdowns for the Panthers.“It’s a matter of being on the gas pedal,” admitted quarterback Max Browne. “And probably if we are being honest, easing off a little bit. Luckily we finished it out.”The Penguins are one of the better FCS teams, to be fair. They played in the national championship final last year and are expected to challenge to win it all this season. Coming into the season, they were ranked in the top ten in the FCS’ major polls.Pitt improved to 83-43- 2 (.658) all-time in season openers and 15-1 (.937) all-time against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents. The Panthers are now 4-1 all-time against Youngstown State. The Panthers improved to 3-0 under Pat Narduzzi in season openers.The game marked Pitt’s first overtime win since a four-overtime win at Notre Dame, 36-33, on Nov. 1, 2008. Pitt improved to 7-9 in overtime contests and is now 1-1 in season-opening overtime contests. The Panthers dropped a 27-24 overtime game at Utah to open the 2010 season.
Why Bet On Penn State?The Lions had little trouble in a 52-0 opening win over Akron. It was PSU’s first season-opening shutout since 2007 vs. Florida International (59-0). Saquon Barkley — a preseason AP All-American and Heisman contender — led a Penn State rushing attack that totaled 247 yards with 172 markers and two touchdowns on 14 carries, and he totaled 246 all-purpose yards with the addition of 54 receiving yards and 20 kickoff return yards.Quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught a career-high six passes for 58 yards. The unit’s 569 yards of total offense were its most since recording 599 last season vs. Iowa.Defensively, Penn State did not allow Akron past midfield in the first half, holding the Zips to just 69 yards, while the offense gained 358 en route to a 35-0 lead at halftime. PSU’s shutout was the first in a season opener since a 59-0 win over FIU in 2007. The defense also combined for 14 tackles for loss for 36 yards for its most TFLs since tallying 15 at Temple in 2015.Penn State scored more than 35 points for the eighth-straight game dating back to last season, a school record. It is also the longest active 35-point streak among Power 5 teams. The previous longest such streak for the Nittany Lions was seven games in 1973.
Last MeetingPenn State lost at Pitt last year 42-39. James Conner, now in the NFL, ran for 117 yards and a touchdown and caught another and senior Ryan Lewis picked off Penn State’s McSorley in the end zone with just over a minute to play. The Lions were down 28-7 at one point. Barkley almost singlehandedly brought the Nittany Lions all the way back. He totaled five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving), the most by a Penn State player since Ki-Jana Carter did it against Michigan State in 1994. Barkley’s fifth score, a 2- yard dive with five minutes to play, drew the Nittany Lions within three.
Latest NCAAF Betting Trends
- Pittsburgh is 5-11 ATS in the last 16 games
- Pittsburgh is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games
- The total went OVER in 11 of Pittsburgh’s last 13 games
- Penn State is 5-0 ATS in the last 5 games
- Penn State is 10-1 SU in the last 11 games
- The total went OVER in 6 of Penn State’s last 8 games