Football Pick: Penn State vs. Syracuse
Date/Time: August 31st, 3:30 ET
Television: ABC or ESPN2
College Football Odds from BetAnySports
Point Spread: Penn State -8
The second season of the post-Joe Paterno era kicks off for the Penn State Nittany Lions as they take to the field at MetLife Stadium to try to beat the college football betting lines against the Syracuse Orange in Week 1 of the campaign.
Penn State has its back against the wall once again this season, knowing that it has all sorts of scholarship limitations thanks to the sanctions from the Jerry Sandusky fiasco. The team is going to have to build around a new leader as well after QB Matthew McGloin graduated. Head Coach Bill O’Brien still hasn’t named a starting quarterback, and we aren’t sure whether he is going to go with QB Christian Hackenberg or QB Tyler Ferguson as his main man. This is where we are going to see whether this team is as good as it was at the end of the season or as bad as it was in the first two losses of the season to the Ohio Bobcats and the Virginia Cavaliers in consecutive weeks. The depth is going to be tested for sure, and that could be problematic even early in the season. Do look for RB Zack Zwinak to be featured quite a bit. He rumbled the ball 203 times last season and got exactly to 1,000 yards for his effort, and he will once again be the featured back in this offense.
The Orange are rebuilding a bit as well. Head Coach Doug Marrone is now gone with the Buffalo Bills, and the man that was under center for the last few seasons, QB Ryan Nassib is gone as well. New Head Coach Scott Shafer hasn’t named a starting quarterback either, and matters were made especially tough on him knowing that a grand total of one pass last year was thrown by anyone aside from Nassib. The options are QB Drew Allen and QB Terrel Hunt, neither of which really spark a heck of a lot of confidence at this point without seeing them play. What we know is that the form of this team isn’t going to change. This is a running team through and through. RB Jerome Smith rushed for 1,171 yards last season, while RB Prince-Tyson Smith rumbled for 830 yards. Both men are going to be features once again on a team that is going to have to grind out a lot of yards to keep its defense off of the field.
This is a tough one for sure. The Nittany Lions certainly have the better team, but they don’t have the deeper team. The tiebreaker that we will use is the form that Penn State has been in early on in seasons. The team has failed to cover five straight Week 1 games, and we think that the oddsmakers are ever so slightly overhyping this team this year as well.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Syracuse Orange Pick: Syracuse Orange +8