Penn State at Syracuse Picks and Week 1 College Football Odds
by Dave Schwab - 7/19/2013
The Penn State NIttany Lions and the Syracuse Orange will renew a longstanding rivalry on Saturday, Aug. 31, at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey. Kickoff for this Big Ten/ACC clash is set 3:30 p.m. (ET), and the game will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Penn State’s first season under strict sanctions by the NCAA went much better than expected with an 8-4 record overall and an impressive 6-2 record in conference play. It finished the season on a high note with a 24-21 overtime victory over Wisconsin as a one-point home favorite to cover the spread in three of its last four games.
The Orange wrapped up their final season in the Big East by claiming a share of the conference title with a 5-2 record, and they finished 8-5 overall. The highlight of the season was a 38-14 romp over West Virginia in the New ERA Pinstripe Bowl as four-point underdogs.
Penn State at Syracuse Storylines
Bill O’Brien knew he had his hands full when he took over as head coach after Penn State’s football program was shaken to the core by the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, and he more than rose to the occasion by keeping his team competitive all season long. Looking ahead to this year, if he can work quarterback Christian Hackenberg into the starting lineup earlier than expected, this offense could be dynamic with wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight ends Matt Lehman and Jesse James back in the fold.
The Lions defense was able to carry this team a number of times last season and ended the year ranked 16th in the nation in points allowed in giving up an average of 19.1 points a game. The secondary remains pretty much intact, and while there are some holes to fill in the front seven, the unit as a whole should not drop off that much from last year’s performance.
Syracuse is not expected to make too much of an impact in its new conference with odds of +2300 to win the Atlantic Division and +6000 to win the ACC title. Scott Shafer takes over as head coach for the departed Doug Marrone, and one of his first tasks will be to find a replacement for quarterback Ryan Nassib. The running game should remain solid with the return of Jerome Smith, who led the team in rushing last season with 1,171 yards. Look for a big dose of him in this season opener.
The Orange gave up an average of 24.8 points a game on defense last season, but they were torched for 35 points or more four times. The good news is that linebacker Dyshawn Davis will be back after leading the team in tackles last season as well as cornerback Keon Lyn, who recorded three interceptions in 2012.
Penn State at Syracuse Betting Tends and Futures Odds
The Lions went a profitable 9-2-1 against the spread last season with a 5-2 ATS record at home and a 4-0-1 ATS record on the road. The total went “over” in seven of their 12 games.
The Orange covered the spread in their last four games last season to finish 8-5 ATS overall. They went 4-2 ATS at home and 3-2-1 ATS on the road. The total went over in seven of their 12 games overall and in five of seven games down the stretch.
These two teams last met in 2009 with Penn State coming away with a 28-7 victory at home after crushing the Orange 55-13 on the road the year before as part of a home-and-home series.
Penn State at Syracuse Picks and Week 1 College Football Betting Predictions
Despite the fact that the Lions remain ineligible for postseason play this season, they have already proven that they are going to show up every week and give you their best. It could take Syracuse a few games to find its footing this season with Shafer at the helm and a number of new faces on both sides of the ball. This all adds up to an opening-day victory by Penn State that easily covers the current five-point spread.
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