The Penn State Nittany Lions football program has made its way back to among the country’s best, and after an impressive 2016 season, expectations are sky high in 2018. The team won 11 games a season ago and returns many key players on each side of the ball.
The Penn State Nittany Lions football program was in turmoil when James Franklin arrived in Happy Valley back in 2014. A football institution was brought to its knees in scandal which led to it being the butt of many jokes. That however is no longer the case. Franklin immediately paid dividends coaching the team to 7-6 seasons his first two years before an enormous 11-3 campaign that finished with an epic Rose Bowl loss to USC at the gun. That was thwarted the following season with a Fiesta Bowl win over Washington.
That brings us to the Nittany Lions 2018 CFB betting campaign. PSU is the owner of a 9.5 game season win total with the betting market neither bullish nor bearish to this point. The Nittany Lions have surpassed that tally each of the last two years, and will likely be in line to eclipse it once again this upcoming season. That is if they can find a way to navigate through all the speedbumps over the course of a hellacious regular season schedule.
With Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin all paying Happy Valley a visit this season, Beaver Stadium will likely dictate who wins the Big Ten and has the best shot of representing the conference in the College Football Playoff. The Nittany Lions have only been defeated once at home since 2015, and they’ve gone a bankroll boosting 9-3 versus the number against conference opponents during that span.
While the rebuild is once again on for Franklin and his staff, it won’t take nearly as long to pull off the feat this time around. Penn State has ranked out amongst the best in terms of recruiting classes since Franklin arrived, and a whole new crop of players will introduce themselves to the collegiate landscape this season.
Thankfully, the Nittany Lions have their ringleader back on offense in the form of Trace McSorley who currently offers up a +1850 return on the Heisman Trophy Futures odds. Now a senior, the Nittany Lions QB1 will be looking to build off a 2017 campaign that saw him throw for over 3,500 yards and a 28:10 TD/INT ratio. He also added another 491 yards and 11 scores on the ground. That’s huge for PSU’s offense which will be without the services of OC Joe Moorhead, No. 2 draft pick Saquon Barkley and safety valves Mike Gesicki and DaeSean Hamilton.
The cupboard is far from bare however with former quarterback coach Ricky Rahne looking to keep the good times going after the unit rumbled for 460 yards and 41 points per game last season. For it to all come together, the offensive line must do a better job in passing situations to ease the pressure McSorley felt all of last season. Barkley’s departure hurts, but the dynamic 1-2 punch out of the backfield in Ricky Slade and Miles Sanders should suffice.
Penn State led the B1G in sacks last season, and it should once again wreak havoc in opposing backfields with Shareef Miller, Shaka Toney and Ryan Buchholz all returning. The main question mark comes in the back seven with both the linebacker crop and secondary almost entirely retooled. The Hope is the first month of the season allows for this unit to find itself just in time to take on all the big boys.
Though there are plenty of holes to fill on both sides of the ball and guys need to step up to help the team match the production of the departed, Penn State is going to be just fine this season. Franklin has this program to the point of reloading rather than rebuilding. Still, the B1G is very competitive this season and I’m not sold on a Penn State team needing to reload winning it. Still, linemakers are sure to undervalue this team from the get go, so take advantage while you can. I’d also look to hit some overs until at least the defense finds its bearings.
Penn State Nittany LionsFootball Schedule
Week 1: Appalachian Stateat Penn State, Saturday, September 1, 3:30 p.m. ET – Big Ten Network
Week 2: Penn State at Pittsburgh, Saturday, September 8, 8 p.m. ET – ABC
Week 3: Kent State atPenn State, Saturday, September 15, 12 p.m. ET – FS1
Week 4: Penn State at Illinois, Saturday, September 22, 9 p.m. ET – FS1
Week 5: Ohio State at Penn State, Saturday, September 29
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: Michigan State at Penn State, Saturday, October 13
Week 8: Penn State at Indiana, Saturday, October 20, 12 p.m. ET
Week 9: Iowa at Penn State, Saturday, October 27
Week 10: Penn State at Michigan, Saturday, November 3
Week 11: Wisconsin at Penn State, Saturday, November 10
Week 12: Penn Stateat Rutgers, Saturday, November 17
Week 13: Maryland at Penn State, Saturday, November 24
The College football season is here, and that means there are plenty of stats and information out there to make accurate decisions when investing in the betting lines and totals moving forward.
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Here are the individual conference break downs for each conference. If you click on the conference links we will also break down each school team by team sorted by conference.
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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