Penn State Nittany Lions College Football Betting
This has been a trying year for Penn State football. The Nittany Lions are now guaranteed to finish with a losing record for the first time since 2004 after their 0-5 start. They are the first team that was initially ranked in the top ten to lost five straight games to kick off a season. There is good news on the horizon though as Penn State has a manageable last three games and should be able to pick up at least one win. Oddsmakers give them close to a 50/50 chance of breaking into the win column this week against the Michigan Wolverines.
Michigan will host Penn State on Saturday, November 28, at 12 p.m. ET on ABC.
Penn State Nittany Lions Weekly Odds
Penn State Nittany Lions +1.5
Michigan Wolverines -1.5
Penn State Nittany Lions Weekly Matchup
When the Big Ten devised the revamped schedule, this was slated to be one of the centerpiece games of the week alongside Wisconsin-Minnesota. However, both Michigan and Penn State have been extremely disappointing.
The Wolverines come into this game at 2-3 following their triple overtime win against Rutgers. Joe Milton wasn’t the answer at quarterback, but Cade McNamara might be the key to unlocking this offense. He completed 27 of 36 passes for 260 yards and four touchdowns against Rutgers, all the while avoiding the inconsistency that plagued Milton.
Ronnie Bell and Cornelius Johnson are solid options at receiver, but Michigan’s ground game has had some trouble moving the chains this year. The Wolverines ran the ball well against Minnesota and decently against Rutgers, yet they were dreadful in their three losses.
Penn State may be winless, but this team still has the 30th ranked defense per SP+. The Nittany Lions have done a good job stopping the run (3.6 YPC), yet the pass defense has been a little suspect (7.6 YPA). That has the potential to make Michigan one-dimensional.
James Franklin would love to see one of his quarterbacks take the reins. Sean Clifford came into the season as the starter after a solid sophomore campaign, but he has been disastrous in 2020. He has turned the ball over 10 times in five games, completing just 57.2 percent of his passes for 7.0 YPA along the way. Will Levis earned his first start last week to try something different, but Levis wasn’t much better and his running prowess was mitigated by three fumbles.
The ground game has been ineffective, averaging just 3.7 YPC without Penn State’s top two running backs from last season. To make matters worse, Journey Brown had to retire from football due to a heart ailment and star tight end Pat Freiermuth was shut down for the season last week.
Jahan Dotson continues to thrive in spite of the circumstances. Dotson has looked like the best receiver in the Big Ten with 31 receptions for 527 yards and six touchdowns to give this offense a big play threat, and the only other major contributor has been Parker Washington.
Dotson might have his best game yet against Michigan’s defense. While the Wolverines have been decent against the run, they have had a hard time defending the pass. Michigan is allowing 274 YPG through the air (103rd nationally), and these young defensive backs continue to have a hard time in man coverage.
Penn State Nittany Lions Weekly Recap
Although they are 0-5, there is still a lot of respect being given to Penn State. The Nittany Lions were a pick ‘em at kickoff of last week’s game against Iowa, but turnovers and inconsistent quarterback play once again doomed their chances of getting a win.
Penn State turned the ball over four times in a 41-21 Iowa victory. The Hawkeyes ran for 175 yards and four touchdowns on this front seven, while the Nittany Lions weren’t able to have much success through the air or on the ground. Penn State carried the ball 35 times for 62 yards, as Iowa’s defense had five sacks and 10 TFL.
The only bright spot was Jahan Dotson. He had eight receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown, keeping Penn State within striking distance.
2020 Penn State Nittany Lions Schedule
||L 35-36 (OT)
||vs. Ohio State
||vs. Michigan State
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