Penn State has beaten in-state rival Temple 30 times in a row; not much of a rivalry, eh? But the Owls have covered the College Football odds pointspread in three of the last four meetings.
Owls-Lions Betting Odds
Most of the College Football Betting Odds opened Penn State at right around -10 over Temple, with an OVER/UNDER of 40; as of Wednesday morning most shops had bumped the Lions to -11, and dropped the total to 39.
Those who think the Owls might pull the upset here could get a price of +355 on the moneyline at BetOnline.
Owls-Lions: The Situation
Penn State, with 12 starters back from a team that went 7-5 last year, went off this season, its first under Coach Franklin, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 7.5. The Lions also began this season ineligible to play in a bowl, but that status was reversed, and at 5-4 SU (4-4-1 ATS) PSU now needs one win in its last three games – against Temple, Illinois and Michigan State - to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2011.
The Lions started 4-0 this season, including a tough 26-24 win over Central Florida in Dublin. But Penn State then lost four games in a row, falling 29-6 at home to Northwestern, 18-13 at Michigan, 31-24 in overtime at home to Ohio State and 20-19 at home against Maryland. Last week the Lions snapped that losing streak with a 13-7 victory at Indiana, pushing the spread as six-point road favorites. Penn State spotted the Hoosiers the first score of the game, then blanked them from there.
The Lions outgained Indiana 330-221. So after getting outgained and outrushed by the Wildcats, Wolverines and Buckeyes, Penn State has outgained and outrushed its last two opponents.
On the other side of this match-up, Temple with 13 starters back from a team that went 2-10 last year, went off this season with a wins O/U of 3.5. So at 5-4 SU (5-4 ATS) the Owls have already played OVER their wins total, and need one victory in their last three games – against Penn State, Cincinnati and Tulane – to become bowl-eligible also for the first time since 2011.
Temple opened this season, its second under Coach Rhule (a former Penn State linebacker), with a 37-7 victory at Vanderbilt, winning outright as an eight-point road dog. The Owls then lost to Navy 31-24, but then won three straight games, over Delaware State, Connecticut and Tulsa. Temple then lost at Houston 31-10 and at Central Florida 34-14, but upset East Carolina 20-10 as nine-point home dogs. Last week the Owls lost to Memphis 16-13 but covered again, as seven-point home underdogs.
Temple led the Tigers last week 10-0 early, but eventually lost on a field goal on the last play of the game. The Owls outrushed Memphis 158-82, but had a punt blocked, leading to one Tigers score, muffed a punt in their own red zone, which led to another Tigers score, threw an interception in the Memphis red zone and missed a 37-yard field goal.
Temple has been outgained in its last four games, and outrushed in three of those four contests.
Owls-Lions: A Quick History
Penn State has beaten Temple 30 times in a row; the last time the Owls beat the Lions came six weeks before Pearl Harbor got bombed. Most recently Penn State beat Temple two seasons ago 24-13, covering as a seven-point favorite. But in the three meetings prior to that the Owls covered as 30-point dogs in 2009 (a 31-6 defeat), as 13-point dogs in 2010 (22-13) and as seven-point dogs in 2011 (14-10).
Also, the last six meetings in this series, going back to 2007, have played UNDER on the totals.
Owls-Lions Betting Trends
These two teams are a combined 6-12 on the totals this season. Temple games have averaged 46 points, while Penn State games have averaged just 37 points.
The Owls are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 games, and 6-0 ATS in their last six games as double-digit underdogs.
Penn State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games as double-digit chalk.
Owls-Lions Free Pick
Statistically speaking, Penn State holds edges on both offense and defense, but at the moment the Lions don't look like a team that should be favored by double-digits over anybody. And in what could very well turn out to be a low-scoring affair 10-plus points might come in handy. So we choose Temple as our Free College Football Pick, plus the points.
Free College Football Pick: Owls +11 at Pinnacle