Penn State Nittany Lions: Your Complete Betting Guide for College Football 2024

Penn State Nittany Lions: Your Complete Betting Guide for College Football 2024

Perhaps no school benefits from the Big Ten’s expansion and elimination of divisions this college football season than Penn State.

In recent seasons, the Nittany Lions were arguably the third-best team in the conference but stuck in the same division as powerhouses Ohio State and Michigan. That’s no longer the case. Let’s break down PSU in 2024.

Expert Prediction: Under 10.5 wins as PSU finishes the regular season at 9-3. No Big Ten title game or playoff.
To reach Playoff: Yes -140, no +110
To win Big Ten: +500
Regular-season win total: 10.5
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Big Ten Adittions

While Penn State no longer is stuck in division with OSU and Michigan, the Big Ten certainly will be much tougher this year with the additions of Oregon, USC, UCLA and Washington.

But the College Football Playoff also expands to 12 teams so PSU could lose twice (if good losses) and still make it.

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Last Year

Despite Coach James Franklin’s .724 winning percentage since 2016 – ranking sixth among current FBS coaches – the Franklin-led Nittany Lions are 4-16 against Ohio State and Michigan.

The Nittany Lions finished 10-3 last year, with both regular-season losses to the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

PSU then was beaten by No. 11 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl, 38-25. The Rebs gained 540 yards against Penn State, which led the nation with its average of 223 yards allowed.

It was the most yards and points allowed by the Nittany Lions last season.

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Drew Allar

Promising young Nittany Lions QB Drew Allar had a bit of a rough game as he threw an interception in the second quarter and lost a fumble when sacked in the fourth.

He completed 19 of 39 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Overall last season, Allar joined Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker (2022) as the only FBS quarterbacks ever to throw 25+ touchdown passes and 2 or less interceptions in a season.

Allar began the season with 251 pass attempts without an interception, the sixth-most to start a season since 2000 in the nation.

He became the only Big Ten quarterback since 2000 to start a season with 175+ pass attempts and no interceptions.

Allar’s Stats

Overall, Allar posted the lowest interception percentage (0.51) in a single season in Penn State history.

He finished third in school history in a season in touchdown passes (25), fifth in touchdowns responsible for (29), sixth in completions (233), seventh in attempts (389), ninth in completion percentage (59.9) and tied for ninth in 200+ yard passing games (7).

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Additions to the Nittany Lions

The 1-2 returning running back punch of Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen is as good as any in the country and they combine for 2,000 yards if the passing game keeps defenses from selling out against the run.

The receiving corps lost KeAndre Lambert-Smith to Auburn, but Tyler Warren is an excellent tight end who caught 34 passes with seven scores last year.

In addition, former Ohio State wideout Julian Fleming transferred in. Fleming had 79 catches for 963 yards and seven touchdowns in his career at Ohio State, and recorded his best season in 2022, when he had 34 receptions for 533 yards and six touchdowns.

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Andy Kotelnicki

There is a new offensive coordinator in Andy Kotelnicki after Mike Yurcich was fired following last year’s loss to Michigan when 10 Nittany Lions scored only 15 points and managed just 238 yards of offense.

Kotelnicki spent the past three seasons as Kansas’ offensive coordinator, including the 2023 season as the associate head coach.

He played a key role in the Kansas turnaround, winning 16 games in his first three seasons after the program reached 16 wins total in the previous nine seasons.

Over those past three years, Kotelnicki’s Kansas offense was terrific, ranking 12th in the country in 20+ yard plays (8.3%), 15th in 30+ yard plays (3.89%) and 11th in 40+ yard plays (2.12%) during that span. Additionally, KU ranked 10th in the country in 15+ yard pass plays (20.97%).

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Penn State Defense

The defense also will look different as after two successful years as Penn State’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz took the top job at Duke Six starters from the 2023 unit, one of the nation’s best, entered the NFL Draft.

Penn State led the country in sacks (49) and tackles for loss (111) and helped allow the fewest rushing yards per game (75.54) last year.

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Nittany Lions Defense Coordinator

Former Indiana coach Tom Allen is the new DC.

In his eight-year tenure with the Hoosiers, IU’s defenses were known for getting off the field on third downs, ranking in the top five in the Big Ten on third down in five seasons and in the top 15 nationally twice.

The Hoosiers ranked sixth in the Big Ten in third down defense (36.6%) during the eight-year span.

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West Virginia vs Penn State

Penn State opens the season with a very tough test at West Virginia on Aug. 31 and hosts MAC schools Bowling Green and Kent State in non-conference action.

In the Big Ten, the Lions avoid Michigan and Oregon but visit USC and Wisconsin and host Ohio State and Washington.

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Penn State Football Schedule 2024

  • Aug. 31 at West Virginia Mountaineers
  • Sept. 7 vs Bowling Green Falcons
  • Sept. 14 BYE
  • Sept. 21 vs Kent State Golden Flashes
  • Sept. 28 vs Illinois Fighting Illini
  • Oct. 5 vs UCLA Bruins
  • Oct. 12 at USC Trojans
  • Oct. 19 BYE
  • Oct. 26 at Wisconsin Badgers
  • Nov. 2 vs Ohio State Buckeyes
  • Nov. 9 vs Washington Huskies
  • Nov. 16 at Purdue Boilermakers
  • Nov. 23 at Minnesota Golden Gophers
  • Nov. 30 vs Maryland Terrapins
  • Dec. 7 Big Ten Championship
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Odds to Win Conference
National Championship Odds
NCAAF Facts to Know
   
 
 

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Penn State Nittany Lions 2019
 

Just as it is in life, the old adage that nothing stays the same forever certainly applies to college football  – and in this case – the Penn State Nittany Lions. You see, after losing one of the biggest stars in program history two years ago, the Big Ten title hopefuls are in for even more change as they gear up for the quickly approaching 2019 NCAA regular season.

“We’ve got a lot of question marks, obviously, with some of the guys we’ve lost,” head coach James Franklin said recently. “But I also think there’s a lot of excitement for the upcoming season.”

The good news is that the Lions aren’t exactly shying away from the new era that will kick off once the regular season gets underway in a mere matter of weeks. If you’re a college football betting enthusiast or Nittany Lions fan that plans on betting on or against Franklin’s squad this coming season, then you’re going to be able to maximize your chances of cashing in on Penn State over the course of the coming 2019 campaign thanks to the insightful betting guide that you’re about to get.

Now let’s get started.

Penn State Nittany Lions 2019 College Football Season Betting Guide

  • 2020 National Championship Odds: +6600
  • 2019 Win Total Odds: 8½

2018 Betting Statistics

  • ATS: 9-4 (W-L) / 7-6-0 (ATS) / 5-3-0 (Home) / 2-3-0 (Away) / 6-2-0 (Grass) / 1-4-0 (Turf)
  • O/U: 8-5-0 (W-L) / 4-4-0 (Home) / 4-1-0 (Away) / 4-4-0 (Grass) / 4-1-0 (Turf) / 54.3 (Total)

Not only did the Nittany Lions play some solid football by going 9-4 last season despite losing do-it-all, superstar running back Saquon Barkley to the NFL Draft last season, but Penn State also managed to post a winning 7-6 ATS mark, mostly because they covered the chalk five times at home. The Nittany Lions went 8-5 against their Over/Under total odds while topping their total an identical four times at home and on the road.

2018 Team Leaders

  • Touchdowns: Trace McSorley (12)
  • Rushing: Miles Sanders (1274)
  • Passing: Trace McSorley (2530)
  • Receiving: KJ Hamler (754)
  • Interceptions: Amani Oruwariye (3)

Last season, senior quarterback Trace McSorley capped off his career at Penn State by scoring a dozen rushing touchdowns while passing for 2,530 yards with an additional 18 TD tosses. Now, senior running back Miles Sanders did a great job of picking up where Barkley left off by rushing for a team-high 1,274 yards and nine score while now, sophomore wide receiver KJ Hamler hauled in 42 passes for a team-high 754 yards and five touchdowns. Last but not least, senior cornerback Amani Oruwariye led the team with three interceptions.

Offense

  • Total Yards: 423.2 / Rank 45
  • Passing Yards: 218.1 / Rank 77
  • Rushing Yards: 205.2 /Rank 29
  • Points Scored:  33.8 / Rank 32
  • Field Goal %: 66.7 / Rank 98

Penn State was solid, if not necessarily explosive on offense in ranking 45th overall, a modest 77th in passing, an encouraging 29th in rushing and 32nd in scoring (33.8 ppg).

Defense

  • Total Yards: 350.5 / Rank 34
  • Passing Yards: 181.5 / Rank 15
  • Rushing Yards: 169 /Rank 72
  • Points Allowed: 20.5 / Rank 23
  • Field Goal %: 56.2 / Rank 14

The Nittany Lions were rock-solid on the defensive side of the ball in finishing 34th in total defense, a stellar 15th against the pass, 72nd against the run and a fine, 23rd in points allowed (20.5 ppg).

Outlook

While Penn State looks like they’re going to be very good on the defensive side of the football for the second straight season, the fact of the matter is that, until we see projected starting quarterback Sean Clifford no one knows just what we should expect out of the Nittany Lions on offense. If Clifford, a redshirt sophomore takes over and plays like a wily veteran right from the outset, then Penn State could surpass everyone’s expectations. However, if the inexperienced signal-caller struggles early on, then the Nittany Lions almost certainly will too.

I like the Nittany Lions’ combination of defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and defensive tackle Robert Windsor as well as linebacker Micah Parsons and the team’s two returning veterans in the secondary (cornerback John Reid and strong safety Garrett Taylor). Still, all of the question marks and inexperience on offense lead me to believe that an eight-win season is about the max that the Big Ten residents can hope for in 2018.

Losses against Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State look like virtual certainties from where I’m sitting and the Nittany Lions will need to play well to avoid losses against other conference rivals like Iowa and Minnesota if they want to have any shot at playing in a big-time bowl game. I’m feeling a big step backwards in 2019 for Penn State and you should be too!

 
 
 
 

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