Saturday ABC Prime Time: Penn State Has Value vs. Pitt

Wednesday, September 5, 2018 5:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2018 5:16 PM UTC

The college football odds haven’t exactly been rushing toward the No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions, but they’re still the value pick for Saturday’s game against the host Pittsburgh Panthers.

<p style="text-align:right"><strong><em>Jason’s 2018-19 NCAAF picks record: 1-1 ATS (0.00 units), 0-1 ML (minus-1.00 units)</em></strong></p><h2 style="text-align:center"><a href="" title="Game Odds">No. 13 Penn State at Pittsburgh</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (ABC)</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Free NCAAF Pick: Penn State -9</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=BOVADA" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Bovada</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3448304, "sportsbooksIds":[999996,1096,1275,1602,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>The Penn State Nittany Lions are a damaged brand. Very bad things happened on Joe Paterno’s watch – bad things that are far more important than any football game, or any football program for that matter. But it has been five years since James Franklin took over as head coach, and the Lions have played very well over the past two seasons – last week’s near-miss against Appalachian State notwithstanding.<br /><br />The Pittsburgh Panthers are another animal. This is Year 4 under Pat Narduzzi, and aside from some high-profile victories over Clemson and Miami, things have not gone terribly well for the Panthers. But at least they beat Albany in their season opener, and they’re holding firm as 9-point home dogs on the <u><a href="" title="Live NCAAF Odds">NCAAF odds board</a></u> for Saturday’s prime-time matchup with Penn State. Maybe they can pull this one off, too. Maybe.</p><p> </p><h2>There’s An App For That</h2><p>The Lions needed overtime to beat the pesky Mountaineers 45-38 as 24-point home faves, after coughing up a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. However, the stat nerds behind the ESPN Football Power Index still have PSU winning Saturday’s game 81.6 percent of the time, and that works out to -443 on the glorious <u><a href="" title="SBR Odds Converter">SBR Odds Converter</a></u>. That’s the same as a point spread somewhere between -12.5 and -13 according to Wizard of Odds – vigorish free, we might add.<br /><br />Overreacting to the events of Week 1 is what the betting public does. Appalachian State has a history of messing things up for the Power 5 conferences; no doubt you remember their epic 2007 upset over Michigan, when the ‘Neers were still in the FCS. The Wolverines landed on their feet, going 9-4 and beating Florida in the Capital One Bowl. These things happen.</p><p> </p><h2>James Franklin Elementary School</h2><p>Granted, Michigan did lose big-time to Oregon (+8 away) the week after getting pipped by ASU. And it’s entirely possible that PSU will suffer the same kind of hangover versus Pitt. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Like we said, bettors always seem to go nut-bar over what happens in Week 1, and one game is a very small sample size of football – too small to rely on for our <u><a href="" title="Free NCAAF Picks">college football picks</a></u>.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;They said James Franklin overrated and well &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— AT (@primediscussion) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;September 1, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>How about four years of games? Here’s what the Lions have accomplished since Franklin was parachuted in to clean things up:<br /><br /><strong>2014:</strong> 7-6 SU, 6-6-1 ATS<br /><strong>2015:</strong> 7-6 SU, 4-9 ATS<br /><strong>2016:</strong> 11-3 SU, 10-3-1 ATS<br /><strong>2017:</strong> 11-2 SU, 8-4-1 ATS<br /><br />Notice the big pivot in Year 3. As a rule of thumb, that’s how long it takes a new head coach to put his stamp on a team – and, wouldn’t you know it, Pittsburgh’s record fell to 5-7 (5-5-2 ATS) in 2017, which was Narduzzi’s third year at the helm. Stay the course, PSU fans. But never forget.</p><blockquote data-lang="en"> </blockquote>
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