Miller’s Pitt at Penn State Betting Odds & Preview: How to Pick Panthers-Nittany Lions’ Final Meeting
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Franklin and Mike Miranda
- Will the 100th meeting in the Pitt vs. Penn State rivalry bring offensive fireworks?
- Kyle Miller dives in to find betting value.
Pitt at Penn State: Betting Odds & Pick
- Odds: Penn State -17.5
- Over/Under: 53.5
- Date: Saturday, Sept. 14
- Time: 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
- Location: State College, Pa.
All odds above as of Saturday at 8 a.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Pittsburgh and Penn State are meeting for the 100th and perhaps final time on Saturday afternoon. While Penn State leads the series 52-43-4, the Nittany Lions are 2-1 against Pitt since James Franklin took over.
In Franklin’s first game in this rivalry, his team lost a shootout in Pittsburgh before winning the Big Ten Championship later that season. After a solid win at home two years ago, Franklin made a point to put Pitt in its place, at their place, beating them 51-6 in the Steel City.
This season, Franklin very clearly has the better, more talented team and they’re installed as 17-point favorites this week.
New quarterback Sean Clifford has been really impressive with a 67% completion percentage and 6-0 touchdown to interception ratio. He’s also the team’s leading rusher.
Wideout KJ Hamler is averaging 25.3 yards per catch and has two touchdowns. The offense has been moving the ball through the air and going at a top-30 pace despite blowouts in each of their first two games.
KJ Hamler is the fastest man in the world pic.twitter.com/9mGkYv1s8T
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 30, 2018
Pitt’s offense hasn’t been nearly as successful so far this year under new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, but two things have caught my eye.
The Panthers are sticking with Whipple’s preferred pass-heavy approach despite head coach Pat Narduzzi favoring the run. Pitt ranks 92nd in rush play percentage, meaning the clock is stopped on each incompletion and first down.
The other thing I’ve noticed is the fast pace at which the Panthers’ offense is going, ranking 31st in seconds per play.
In a game featuring two offenses that want to push the tempo and air it out, I’m taking the over on a relatively low total.
The biggest concern for the over in this game is Pitt’s ineffectiveness throwing the ball, but the one area Penn State has struggled with is allowing explosive pass plays.
That concern is also alleviated when I look at last year’s 51-6 blowout in this game. James Franklin is the kind of coach that wants to put it on his rival. With this being the last meeting between these teams for the foreseeable future, I could see Franklin hitting this over by himself.
The Pick: Over 53