The seventh-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions will look to kick off their 2020 season in style when they hit the road to take on the Indiana Hoosiers as the Big Ten opens its coronavirus altered 2020 schedule. Can Penn State get the win and ATS cover or will an Indiana team that had one of its best seasons ever a year ago, pull off the stunning upset? Let’s find out which team is offering the best betting value against their NCAAF odds in this affair.
NCAA Football Penn State (0-0) at Indiana (0-0)
- When: Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020 at 3:30 PM ET
- Where: Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
- TV: FS1
Why Bet On Penn State
The Nittany Lions went a fantastic 11-2 last season while going 7-0 at home and 3-2 on the road. More importantly, Penn State has won six straight in this rivalry – although each of the last two meetings has been decided by a touchdown or less including last season’s 34-27 home win in which the Nittany Lions never came close to covering the chalk as a 15-point home favorite.
“It’s the best Indiana football team that we have played by far,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “Indiana has played a bunch of games, and it played a lot of people really tough. And you’d better be ready to play. You’d better have all your T’s crossed and your I’s dotted and you’d better have the right mentality when you when you play Indiana.”
This week, Penn State announced they will be without junior running back Journey Brown, the team’s leading rusher last season. Brown is out with an undisclosed medical issue with no timeline to return. In addition to that, preseason All-American linebacker Micah Parsons, opted out for the 2020 campaign due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Still, the Nittany Lions have a ton of talent, starting with quarterback Sean Clifford, preseason All-America tight end Pat Freiermuth and safety Lamont Wade. Sophomore running back Noah Cain, who rushed for 443 yards and eight TDs last season, will start in place of Brown.
- Nittany Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf.
- Nittany Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Nittany Lions are 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games in October.
Why Bet On Indiana
Indiana went 8-5 overall and 5-4 in Big Ten conference play to finish with their best record since 1993. The bad news is that the Hoosiers went 0-4 against ranked teams last season while dropping those contests by an average of 20.5 points per game. The good news is that the Hoosiers return nine starters on offense and eight on defense from last year’s team. Now, Indiana will look to record its first win over a ranked opponent since Oct. 10, 1987, when they upset No. 9 Ohio State 31-10.
“Playing a team like Penn State gives us that opportunity,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said. “We talk about what’s next for our program, it’s winning these games. Obviously being close is no longer acceptable or the goal or the objective whatsoever. It’s to find a way to finish and win these games.”
Sophomore quarterback Michael Penix Jr. will be making his first career start against Penn State after throwing for 1,394 yards with 10 TD passes and four interceptions in five games.
“He’s played some big games for us for sure,” Allen said. “Not as many as he will before it’s all said and done, but he has a natural poise to him that is extremely evident when you put him in these environments, and it never seems to be too big for him so I suspect he’ll rise up and play at a high level on Saturday.”
- Hoosiers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog.
- Hoosiers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Hoosiers are 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a home underdog.
Expert Analysis and Prediction
Indiana might be playing at home in this affair, but Penn State has the big edge in overall talent – and the much better defense in this affair. While the Nittany Lions are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 road dates against Indiana and the home team in this Big Ten rivalry has gone 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings, I’m expecting Penn State to get the resounding win in this season-opener.
Penn State has gone 4-1 ATS in its last five road games and 8-3 SU in its last 11 road dates. Indiana has gone 1-10 SU in its last 11 home dates against the Nittany Lions and I believe the Hoosiers will come up just short of covering the spread in this Week 8 affair.
Pick: Penn State 31 Indiana 21
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