Penn State Win Total Prediction
Penn State has managed to get to nine wins the last three seasons. Can the Nittany Lions make it four years in a row during the 2019 season?
James Franklin is coming into his sixth season as head coach of Penn State. Franklin has managed a winning record every year, putting up 11 wins in both 2016 and 2017. Last season, Penn State went 9-4 with a 6-3 Big Ten record. According to oddsmakers, the Nittany Lions are listed with an over/under of 8.5 wins for the 2019 regular season. The over is listed with -145 odds, while the under is set at +125.
The Nittany Lions weren’t quite as explosive on offense last season, but still dangerous. They put up 33.8 points and 423.2 yards per game. Despite losing Saquon Barkley from the previous year, Penn State still put up over 200 rushing yards per game. Miles Sanders led the way with 1,223 yards and nine scores while QB Trace McSorley rushed for 723 yards and 11 TD’s while throwing for 2,284 yards and 16 scores. Both are now in the NFL, leaving a lot of questions for PSU. Sophomore Sean Clifford looked to have earned the QB starting spot in the spring, but hew threw just five passes in 2018. Good news for him is KJ Hamler is back at receiver after leading the team with 713 receiving yards last year. Penn State also has three starters back on the offensive line.
Defensively, Penn State gave up just 20.5 points and 350.5 yards per game. Their pass defense ranked 15th nationally, giving up just 181.5 yards per contest. This year’s unit has six starters back, including the four leading tacklers. Linebacker Micah Parsons led the way with 69 tackles while safety Garret Taylor had 61 tackles with three interceptions. The pass rush should remain strong as Yetur Gross-Matos and Robert Windsor both return on the line. They combined for 15.5 sacks in 2018.
Penn State opens with non-conference home games against Idaho, Buffalo and Pitt. In Big Ten play, the Nittany Lions will host Purdue, Michigan, Indiana and Rutgers. They will make road trips to Maryland, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State.
There are certainly reasons to be concerned about Penn State this season. The offense looks like it could be a little shaky this season and the Nittany Lions have some challenging road games. Despite that, I like what Franklin has been able to do at PSU and I think they can overcome the offensive woes. The Penn State defense should be very strong, so it won’t need a ton of scoring to win. I like them to win every home game outside of possibly Michigan. That is six wins right there, possibly seven. While road trips to Maryland, Iowa, MSU, Minnesota and Ohio State will be tough, I am confident Penn State can get three wins.
College Football Prediction: Penn State Over 8.5 wins -145