Penn State 2019 Betting Guide: Offense Must Find Itself in Post-Moorhead Era

Penn State 2019 Betting Guide: Offense Must Find Itself in Post-Moorhead Era article feature image

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: KJ Hamler

Penn State 2019 Betting Odds

  • National Title: 100-1
  • To Win Big Ten: 16-1
  • To Make the Playoff: 25-1
  • Win Total: 8.5

Penn State Schedule, Projected Spreads

What to Like about Penn State

Caesars Entertainment put out Bednarik Award odds early in the summer. The award goes to the best defensive player in the nation as voted by the Maxwell Football Club.

It wasn’t a shock to see two Penn State players have some of the highest odds in defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and linebacker Micah Parsons.

If you listen closely, you can hear this Indiana left tackle yelling "LOOK OUT!" to his quarterback.

Impressive hand combatting skills on display here by Penn State EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos.

— Joe Marino (@TheJoeMarino) June 25, 2019

Since Brent Pry moved from position coach to sole defensive coordinator, the Nittany Lions have posted a top 15 S&P+ defense the past three seasons.

That is great news for the start of Penn State’s schedule, as Buffalo, Purdue and Iowa lose large contributors on offense. This should be one of the best defenses in the country.

What Could Cause Problems

The Joe Moorhead effect.

A string of top 20 rankings in explosiveness and efficiency from 2016-2017 could have been linked to offensive coordinator Moorhead, quarterback Trace McSorley and running back Saquon Barkley. They’re all gone now.

This will be the first season Penn State will be without any Moorhead influence, as quarterback Tommy Stevens transfers to Mississippi State to join Moorhead.

The 2:48 mark in the clip above revisits the final offensive series for Penn State against Ohio State in a game the Nittany Lions dominated. It consisted of very conservative play calling by offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne, including a running play on fourth-and-5.

Penn State dropped from top 20 in efficiency and explosiveness in 2017 to 56th and 57th, respectively, last season. Needless to say, the offense is moving in the wrong direction.

Quarterback Sean Clifford, the No. 8 pro-style QB in the Class of 2017, will be under center this fall after just seven pass attempts last season. A host of freshman will backup Clifford, giving Penn State depth issues at quarterback similar to Ohio State.

Other Nugget(s)

One Game of the Year line that may be worth a wager is Michigan State -2.5 hosting Penn State on Oct. 26. The Spartans have won this matchup four of the past five seasons, winning outright as a double digit underdog the past two seasons.

Penn State will roll into East Lansing playing its third road game in 29 days and after hosting Michigan. Michigan State should be fresh off a bye week and have its second bye week directly after the Penn State game.

Bets to Watch

Michigan State -2.5 as a game of the year wager on Oct. 26 is a great fade of Penn State. This is a tough road spot against a Spartans team that will be rested.

The Action Network projected win total for the Nittany Lions is 7.75, which means an investment on the Under at 8.5 or 8 is in the cards. The Nittany Lions will be touchdown underdogs or more to Michigan and Ohio State and dogs at Iowa and Michigan State.

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