College Football Predictions: Syracuse vs. Penn State Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 8/29/2013
There was a time when a Syracuse-Penn State game would’ve been a headliner for the opening week of the college football season. Instead, these two programs will meet this weekend in a game that features two programs just trying to pick up the pieces and wipe off the dust of their former glory.
Syracuse and Penn State will square off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at MetLife Stadium in New York City. The Nittany Lions are solid nine-point favorites in this game between Eastern rivals. This is just the third meeting since 1990 and should be one of the better games of the Saturday card.
Here is a closer look at this week’s matchup:
Syracuse vs. Penn State Storylines
The Nittany Lions were one of the biggest overachievers in college football last season. After a rash of defections and with the shadow of 2011’s tragic Jerry Sandusky-Joe Paterno scandal still cast over the program, new head coach Bill O’Brien led Penn State to eight wins.
O’Brien will attempt to do it again this year. But he faces even more challenges heading into the 2013 opener. Gone is veteran quarterback Matt McGloin and a senior class that really held this team together. The Nittany Lions will battle through scholarship reductions and a shocking lack of depth this season, and they will have to replace a load of leadership and production off last year’s squad.
Penn State will turn to star recruit Christian Hackenberg to lead the team. The true freshman quarterback was one of the top recruits in the nation and has the tools to be a prototypical college quarterback. He aims to become just the second true freshman quarterback to start an opener for Penn State in more than 100 years (Rob Bolden, 2010).
Hackenberg will lead a Penn State offense with eight starters back. Most of the skill players have returned from an offense that averaged nearly 30 points per game.
Syracuse heads into this season with a new everything: new coach, new quarterback and new conference. The Orange bolted for the ACC and will be led by last year’s defensive coordinator, Scott Shafer.
Shafer is going with senior Drew Allen under center. Allen spent his last three years at Oklahoma, watching behind Landry Jones. The Orange may also use uber-athlete Terrel Hunt. But for the most part the 6-foot-5 Allen will have the keys to an offense that did manage 30 points per game.
Syracuse will miss leading wideouts Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales. But they have a pair of dynamic running backs in Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley. They also have three starters back on the offensive line and should feature a more run-based attack this year.
Unlike Penn State, Syracuse has a load of experience and depth back from last year’s defense. The Orange have four three-year starters and a solid back seven at their disposal. It will be their job to spoil Hackenberg’s debut.
Syracuse vs. Penn State College Football Week 1 Betting Trends and Odds
This line has skyrocketed up from an opening line of Penn State -3.0 to its current position at -9.0. This line has steamed despite the fact that the betting action has been split nearly 50-50. The total for this game is at 51.5.
The Nittany Lions are a solid 9-1-1 ATS overall and were a money team last year while exceeding expectations. However, Penn State is just 5-12 ATS in its last 17 nonconference games, and they failed to cover the spread in last year’s opener, a home loss to Ohio.
Syracuse is 4-0 in its last four nonconference games, and they covered the spread in their final four games of 2012, including their bowl blowout of West Virginia. The Orange also have a touch of revenge, having lost four straight times to the Nittany Lions. The most recent Ls came in 2009 (28-7) and 2008 (55-13). Prior to that they hadn’t met since 1990.
College Football Predictions: Syracuse vs. Penn State Betting Picks
I actually think that there is a lot of value on the Orange here. This line has steamed up for no apparent reason. And this is a lot of points for the Nittany Lions to lay in a game that I really could see Syracuse winning outright. The core of this Orange team is the same one that took USC to the wall in New York last year in a marquee nonconference game. The Orange have also played extremely well – and with solid fan support – in NYC in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2010 and 2012. I also really like the “under” in this game. Both teams are breaking in new quarterbacks, and both coaches have suggested that they will each play more than one signal caller. Shafer is a defensive guy, and Penn State’s stop unit was very reliable last year. I see both coaches trying to run the ball, establish physical dominance early, and limit big plays. I think that this game is played in the teens and low-20s, and I definitely see this game going under. That is my free college football prediction for Saturday.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sports and a member of the Football Writer’s Association of American. He has earned over $10,000 in profit for his clients over the last 16 football months. He went 7-2 last week with his NFL preseason selections and this week, for the first time ever, Robert will release selections from his incredible KING College Football Betting System. (Learn more HERE.) We are so confident that you will be amazed by this moneymaking system we are going to give you a free, no-strings-attached $60 credit to use toward a purchase of Robert’s football selections. CLICK HERE for $60 absolutely free!
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