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Week 9: Nittany Lions vs. Wildcats Preview/Pick

College Football Betting: Penn State vs Northwestern

Penn State Nittany Lions (7-1 SU, 3-4 ATS) at Northwestern Wildcats (5-3 SU, 2-4 ATS)
Saturday, October 31: 4:30 p.m.
BetUS.com Football Betting Odds: Penn State -15 ½

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Here are some BetUS.com NCAAF Betting Trends which may impact this game:

Penn State: 4-2 ATS in their last 6 road games
Penn State: 7-2 SU in their last 9 road games
Penn State: The total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 road games
Northwestern: 2-5 ATS in their last 11 games
Northwestern: 5-1 SU in their last 6 home games
Northwestern: 2-7 SU in their last 9 games against Penn State

The Penn State Nittany Lions are making a march toward their fifth straight nine win season. To do so, they’ll have to beat a pesky Northwestern team, at a venue where the home team rarely loses.

For Penn State, it’s another banner year under head coach Joe Paterno. They currently stand at 7-1, and are 4-1 in Big 10 play, their sole loss to Iowa.

On the season, and in particular the last few games, there are few teams playing better then the Lions. While most people would start with an offense led by Daryll Clark and Evan Royster, it only seems fair to praise the Nittany Lions defense, which is currently ranked No. 1 in all of college football, allowing under nine points a game, and is also ranked No. 4 in total yardage. It is a unit that has superstars all over the field, headlined by future NFL All-Pro Navarro Bowman at linebacker. And despite losing four starters out of their defensive secondary, the Lions are fifth in college football, allowing just 160.5 yards per game through the air.

Offensively, Penn State is led by the aforementioned Clark and Royster. Clark- in his second year under center- has been better then expected, after losing his top three wide receivers from a year ago. Yet, he has hardly missed a beat, throwing for 17 touchdowns and over 1800 yards. Royster’s numbers are down a bit from a year ago, but that is due in large part to Clark’s continued improvement. Royster is still averaging close to 100 yards on the ground a game, and has four rushing touchdowns.

As for Northwestern Wildcast, they are quietly playing well under the radar. No win for the Wildcats was greater than a week ago, when despite falling behind Indiana 21-0, they rallied for an amazing comeback win in Bloomington, 29-28.

The offense is led by one of the great dual-threat quarterbacks in the country in Mike Kafka. While Kafka is still turning the ball over a bit too much (three interceptions last week), it’s hard to imagine where Northwestern would be without him. He’s thrown for over 2000 yards, including 312 in last weeks win.

This game will be interesting, because of the varying sense of urgency for each team. For Penn State it’s simple, they need to win this one and hope that somehow Iowa slips up so the Nittany Lions can get back in the Big 10 championship picture. For Northwestern, a win this weekend would do wonders for their national credibility. More importantly though, it would get them to the six win plateau needed to get them bowl eligible.

Northwestern is better then people realize, but I’m going to go with Penn State in the college football betting odds. That has less to do with Northwestern’s ability to put points on the board, and more to do with how well Penn State’s defense is playing right now. Since the Iowa game, no one has been able to move the ball on them.

Our Pick: Penn State -15 ½

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