Early Bird: Kent State & Penn State Stay ‘Under’ at Beaver Stadium

James Franklin

Willie Bee

Wednesday, September 12, 2018 1:19 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 12, 2018 1:19 PM UTC

Favored by nearly five touchdowns on the NCAA football odds, Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions host Kent State in one of Saturday’s early kickoffs.

2018 Record: 2-0 (+2.0 units)

Kent State (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS) at Penn State (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (Fox Sports 1)Free NCAAF Pick: Under 63½Best Line Offered: Heritage

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The absence of Saquon Barkley in the backfield has so far been no problem for Trace McSorley and the Penn State offense, the Nittany Lions putting 96 points on the scoreboard in their first two games. But, coming off a rout of rival Pitt, there are some who believe Penn State might be walking into a trap this week in advance of the Big Ten slate starting.

The fine folks setting the NCAA football odds certainly feel that victory is eminent as the Kent State Golden Flashes come to Happy Valley for an early boot this Saturday. Ranked 10th in the latest coaches poll, the Nittany Lions are favored by 34-35 points to extend their home winning streak to 16, the scoreboard target set in the 63-64 point range.

PSU Needs To Shore Up Run Defense

At 1-1 on the season, the Golden Flashes need just two more wins to surpass the 2½-win total set for them on the 2018 college football futures. This week’s outlook wouldn’t indicate that number will be down to one when Kent State leaves State College. Still, you can bet 1st-year head coach Sean Lewis is convincing his squad they can and showing film of Appalachian State’s near upset at Penn State in Week 1. He’s also reminding his lads they already hung with a Big Ten team, the Flashes going to Champaign two weeks ago and taking Illinois to the final quarter before falling, 31-24, as 18-point underdogs.

After needing overtime to pull off a 7-point win over Appalachian State as better than 3-TD favorites, James Franklin’s squad bounced off that scare with an easy time of things in Pittsburgh last Saturday. Penn State eased to a 51-6 win over the Panthers in a game Bookmaker had the Nittany Lions laying 7, though McSorley struggled a bit moving the offense through the air, completing just 14-of-30 attempts. He managed managed to complete two of them for scores, however, and has rushed for three touchdowns in the first two games. The biggest problem has been a defense that ranks 106th in the country allowing over 200 YPG rushing.

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Tune In. #FlashFAST #NewEra pic.twitter.com/HujzN5B5qB

— Kent State Football (@KentStFootball) 10 de setembro de 2018
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Lions 5-0 In Series That Dates To 1965

The sixth meeting between the schools – all at Penn State – finds the Nittany Lions with a perfect 5-0 record. They last got together early on the 2016 fixture, Penn State coming away with a 33-13 decision to miss the cover on a -24 spread. That matchup had just enough to get 'over’ a 44-point hurdle, and both teams are coming off ‘over’ winners last Saturday.

For the Nittany Lions to cover, they’ll need to beat Kent State by the largest margin ever in the series. Penn State has the ability to do that, but I’m staying away from the spread for my free college football pick and looking at the total instead. I don’t expect the Golden Flashes to contribute much there, and with the Big Ten opener on deck, I suspect Franklin will take his foot off the gas to rest starters in the second half. Give me the ‘under’ to go with my Bloody Mary in this week’s Early Bird Special.

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