The Northwestern Wildcats are in for a rude awakening when they face the Penn State Nittany Lions in their first road game of the season Saturday. Read on for our Northwestern-Penn State picks.
Northwestern had a bad couple of weeks with home losses to inferior teams. A visit to the undefeated Nittany Lions in State College isn’t a remedy for the Wildcats’ recent troubles.
Here are our Northwestern-Penn State Week 5 college football picks (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Northwestern vs. Penn State Game Info
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Beaver Stadium, State College, PA
- Weather: 61 degrees, 90% chance of precipitation, 9-mph winds
Northwestern vs. Penn State Odds
Northwestern vs. Penn State Odds Analysis
The line opened with Penn State as 25-point home favorites. It's moved slightly since to -25.5 at DraftKings.
The total opened at 52 before dropping narrowly to 51.5 at FanDuel. 83% of the cash bet on the total has come on the Over.
Northwestern vs. Penn State Picks
- ATS: Penn State -25.5 (-110 via FanDuel) ★★★★
- Over/Under: Over 51.5 (-110 via FanDuel) ★★★
- Prop: Allen anytime touchdown scorer (-115 via FanDuel) ★★★★
Northwestern vs. Penn State ATS Pick
Penn State -25.5 (-110) ★★★★
The efficiency metrics for these respective teams spell an ugly story for Northwestern's outcome. Penn State ranks as the No. 27 offensive team according to ESPN’s FPI rankings. On the defensive side, the Nittany Lions are a top 20.
Northwestern has one of the worst Power Five programs going, with its lone win coming over embattled Nebraska. The Wildcats haven’t played a true road game yet this season. Given how they’ve performed at home recently, we have a good idea of how the they'll respond to this challenge.
They lost to an FCS team and then fell to the Miami (OH) Redhawks. Those outcomes helped Northwestern fall outside the top 100 in both FPI offensive and defensive efficiency. Penn State won two of its last three games by a margin greater than the 25.5 points for this Saturday--and Northwestern is the worst opponent the Nittany Lions have faced in this stretch.
Northwestern vs. Penn State O/U Pick
Over 51.5 (-110) ★★★
Penn State averages 38.8 points per game this season (19th in FBS) and faces a Northwestern defense that tends to give up points to even average offensive attacks. Duke, Nebraska and FCS Southern Illinois combined to average 30 PPG against the Wildcats' defense.
With their offensive efficiency ratings, the Lions should have no problem besting those outputs with ease.
Offensively, Northwestern came off its lowest scoring season game, a 17-14 loss courtesy of Miami (OH). Northwestern ranks 111th in FPI offensive efficiency. The Wildcats couldn’t score against the Redhawks, who rank 76th in FBS defensive efficiency. They’ll have trouble mustering more than a few field goals against a Lions defense that ranks 16th this year.
Northwestern vs. Penn State Prop Pick
Allen anytime touchdown scorer (-115) ★★★★
Penn State has adapted offensively, taking advantages of its respective opponents' defenses. Last week against Central Michigan, Nittany Lions QB Sean Clifford stepped up with three passing touchdowns. The prior week, running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen combined for four scores on the ground.
Against a Northwestern run defense that allowed 182.3 rushing yards per game (101st in FBS), it should be another matchup that favors the ground attack. Northwestern has allowed eight rushing TDs this year, so both Singleton and Allen should be quality scoring bets.
With Singleton featured at -195 at FanDuel, Allen is the better value at -115. Singleton only has one more rushing score (4) than Allen this season (3) and this seems like a blowout situation where both find plenty of opportunity in the end zone.
Where to Bet on Northwestern vs. Penn State Picks
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Northwestern-Penn State picks made 9/30/2022 at 3:24 p.m. ET