Penn State Win-Total Pick
After a surprising run to the Big Ten Championship in 2016, will the Penn State Nittany Lions once again be a top team in the country in 2017?
According to oddsmakers at BetDSI, Penn State is listed with 20/1 odds to win the College Football Playoffs. The Nittany Lions are also listed with 5/1 odds to win the Big Ten again, while their over/under total for wins is listed at 9.5. The over is set at -140, while the under is listed at +110.
James Franklin is entering his fourth season as head coach of Penn State. After going 7-6 in his first two years with the program, he jumped up to an 11-3 record last year, including a Big Ten Championship and an appearance in the Rose Bowl. That bowl game saw them lose to USC 52-49 in one of the more memorable bowl games from the season.
Penn State wasn’t quite the defensive team we have grown accustomed to last season. The Nittany Lions gave up 23.4 points and 352 yards per game. The defense returns six starters this year. They will be inexperienced up front, but have a pair of linebackers in Jason Cabinda and Manny Bowen, who combined for 149 tackles and 12.5 tackles for loss. The team’s leading tackler, Marcus Allen, is also back at safety after racking up 110 tackles in 2016. Offensively, Penn State should improve on last year’s average of 37.6 points and 433 yards per game. Penn State has nine starters back this season, including most of their skill-position players. Running back Saquon Barkley is back after rushing for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016. Quarterback Trace McSorley is also back after throwing for 3,614 yards and 29 touchdowns. He also ran for 365 yards and seven touchdowns.
Penn State opens the season with three straight non-conference home games, taking on Akron, Pitt and Georgia State. The conference home slate includes games with Indiana, Michigan, Rutgers and Nebraska. The Nittany Lions will have to go on the road to face Iowa, Northwestern, Ohio State, Michigan State and Maryland. After a big 2016 surge, Penn State shouldn’t be lacking in confidence this year. They have a great offense coming back and the defense can show improvement if they develop some young linemen. It Penn State can defeat Pitt at home in Week 2, I think the Nittany Lions can definitely get to 10 wins. They proved they can hang with Ohio State last year and I think they may be able to get past an inexperienced Michigan team as well.
2017 WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: PENN STATE OVER 9.5 (-140)