Pick Penn State -1.5 Over UCF for College Football Aug. 30

Friday, July 25, 2014 4:50 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 25, 2014 4:50 PM UTC

The UCF Knights land in a unfamiliar situation to open up the 2014 season, which will allow the Penn State Nittany Lions to avenge last year’s loss in the series.

<p style="text-align:center"><span style="font-family:arial, sans, sans-serif;color:rgb(0, 0, 0)">           <iframe allowfullscreen frameborder="0" height="330" src="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/video/embed/?videoId=21161" width="560"></iframe></span></p> <p>The UCF Knights land in a unfamiliar situation to open up the 2014 season, which will allow the Penn State Nittany Lions to avenge last year’s loss in the series.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>A new look</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">Penn State will begin life under first year head coach James Franklin overseas, as it attempts to gain revenge for a 34-31 loss to UCF as 4.5-point home favorites last season, but this year’s installment will take place at Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">The Nittany Lions have captured two of three all-time meetings in this series, which can’t be ignored when making your Week 1 <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/college-football/" target="_blank" title="Free college football picks and betting advice for you">college football predictions</a>, but they’ve also played just one neutral site game since 2012.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em"><a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/college-football/conditions-profitable-college-football-betting/39652/" target="_blank" title="Conditions for Profitable College Football Betting">College football handicappers</a> are interested to see how the defensive line plays in the early going, as the group has undergone its first coaching change in 14 years, as Larry Johnson accepted the same position at Ohio State during the offseason.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Lofty expectations</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">UCF may be <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/college-football/most-overvalued-teams-2014-15-college-football-odds/38297/" target="_blank" title="The Most Overvalued Teams in 2014-15 College Football Odds">a bit overvalued in the betting markets this season</a>, as it established a school record with 12 wins a year ago, but it must replace starting quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">The Knights return just 25 career pass attempts on their roster, which means they’ll likely have to lean heavily on sophomore running back William Stanback in the early going, who ran for 443 yards and six touchdowns in 2013.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">It’s still important to point out that the program has covered the number in its last six non-conference affairs.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>A capable thrower</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">Franklin has a star in signal-caller Christian Hackenberg, who threw for 2,955 yards and 20 touchdowns with 10 interceptions, but that was under the watchful eye of former head coach Bill O’Brien.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">The Nittany Lions will need to find a way to protect their star quarterback against a veteran defense, as the offensive line is a major question mark with just one returning starter, while the receiving core <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/forum/college-football-betting/2922857-players-who-will-not-play-2014-a.html" target="_blank" title="Here are College Football players who will not play in 2014">lost its best player</a> to the NFL.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>All about the stop unit</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">The Knights are going to receive a good amount of action as neutral-site underdogs, considering 18 of their 21 players that made at least one start return on the defensive side of the ball.</span></p> <p><span style="line-height:1.6em">UCF’s program was more offensive-minded than usual last year with Bortles in tow, but there’s no doubt that 11th-year head coach George O’Leary will rely on his stop unit in playing the school’s first-ever regular season game on a neutral field.</span></p> <p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":293731, "sportsbooksIds":[43], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p> <p><strong>Prediction</strong><br /> <span style="line-height:1.6em">I’m going to recommend that readers back the Nittany Lions as one of their college football picks, as I believe Franklin will have his team ready to go in this environment, while <a href="https://www.sportsbookreview.com/picks/college-football/college-football-picks-penn-state-vs-ucf/48041/" target="_blank" title="Another handicapper recommends backing the Knights and here is why">this is unchartered waters for the Knights</a>.</span></p> <p><strong>Free College Football Pick: </strong> Penn State Nittany Lions -1.5</p>
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