Akron vs. Penn State Pick
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Penn State is the clear favorite in the game, as the Nittany Lions are getting odds of -30.5 points against the Zips. The over/under total for the contest is listed at 66 points. Penn State has won its last five meetings with Akron, going 4-1 against the spread in those five games. These two will meet up at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. The game will air live on ABC.
Penn State is coming off an 11-3 record in the 2016 season, which included a Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions were impressive at the betting window as well, going 10-3-1 against the spread in 2016. Penn State managed to put up 37.6 points per game on offense while allowing just 23.4 on defense last year. The Penn State offense should be a force once again as Trace McSorley is back at quarterback after throwing for 3,614 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2016. He also rushed for 365 yards and seven touchdowns. In the backfield, Saquon Barkley returns as well. Barkley rushed for 1,496 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Akron is coming off a 5-7 record in the 2016 season with a 4-8 record against the spread. The Zips averaged 27.4 points per game last season while allowing 33.6 per contest on defense. Thomas Woodson is back to lead the offense at QB after throwing for 2,079 yards and 18 touchdowns in his junior year. Woodson is battling a shoulder injury, but is expected to play today. Woodson is lacking in skill players at receivers, as Jerome Lane and JoJo Natson, who combined for 121 receptions, 1,955 yards and 16 touchdowns, are gone. Akron does bring back its top two rushers in Van Edwards Jr. and Manny Morgan, but both were held to under 500 yards in 2016.
Penn State is a team on paper that looks like it should be among the best in the nation. The Nittany Lions are emerging from the scandal and they return an impressive amount of talent this year. McSorley and Barkley will be able to lead the Penn State offense down the field at will today. The defense should be strong enough to keep Akron from doing much offensively. I like Penn State to cover, even with a large spread.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREDICTION: PENN STATE -30.5