Free NCAA Football Prediction: Cardinals vs. Nittany Lions Odds
Looking for Ball State Cardinals vs. Penn State Nittany Lions free picks? College football betting sees the Cardinals taking on the Nittany Lions on September 11, 2021, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football game Week 2 predictions like this Cardinals Nittany Lions free pick.
College Football Handicapping Analysis: Week 2
Ball State Cardinals (1-0) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (1-0)
Date: Saturday, September 11, 2021
Time: 3:30 pm EST
Venue: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
NCAA Football ATS Spread Odds: Penn State -23
NCAA Football Moneyline Odds: Ball State +950 / Penn State -2000
NCAA Betting Total Odds: 58
Penn State finds themselves in the dangerous ‘letdown game’ after their huge 16-10 win over #12 Wisconsin last week as a +5.5 underdog in Camp Randall. Make no mistake, there were plenty of opportunities for the Nittany Lions to give that game away, but that’s still a huge conference road win. Now you have to try and get up for Ball State though.
The Cardinals come into Saturday’s game 1-0 as well, but they only beat Western Illinois 31-21 as huge -31 point favorites. Granted the Leathernecks added a late TD to make the final score look closer, but that’s still not the dominating performance Mike Neu would have liked.
Ball State Cardinals
We can call it season opening rust or even a look ahead to this week’s matchup with Penn State, but Ball State looked kind of lethargic in week 1. Western Illinois was tied 7-7 at the half, and it looked like a possible upset as +31 point underdogs was possible.
Make no mistake, the Cardinals did their job to get the win. First team All-MAC receiver Justin Hall had a 49-yard and a 48-yard TD reception while Ball State also added a 48 yard rush TD (Will Jones) and a 37 yard score on the ground (Carson Steele).
BSU has some big play potential on offense, at least to stay within 23 points on Saturday. The Cardinals also have a solid QB in Drew Plitt, the Senior who went 17/28 with 2 TD in the opener. Plitt took every snap at QB for Ball State last year, and has completed 64+ percent of his passes the last two years with 41 TD to 13 INT. That is against a MAC schedule however.
Ball State’s biggest concern on Saturday is a defense that gave up a 30/43, 367 yard performance to Western Illinois QB Connor Sampson. Penn State did have just 43 yards in the 1st half against Wisconsin, but the Badgers defense is one of the best units in the country.
Penn State Nittany Lions
Was Penn State lucky to escape Madison with a win? Neither team scored in the 1st half even though Wisconsin held a 13-1 edge in first downs over the first two quarters of play. The Badgers had a couple turnovers inside the Penn State 10 and also had a 25-yard field goal blocked.
Of course the Nittany Lions didn’t just have the Wisconsin game handed to them. James Franklin and staff made adjustments at half and got Jahan Dotson loose for a 49-yard score a little under 3 minutes into the 3rd quarter. Steve Clifford was 18/33 for 247 yards, and also didn’t throw an INT against a Badgers team that had the #1 defense in the country last season.
It would be easy to expect a letdown for Penn State going from a season opening conference win to a game with a MAC team. The Nittany Lions are back at home though, and Beaver Stadium is headed to full capacity for the first time since 2019. That’s 100,000+ fans ready to get rowdy.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Cardinals are 4-0 ATS last 4 road games
- Cardinals are 11-1 ATS last 12 vs. team with a winning record
- Cardinals are 13-3 ATS last 16 vs. Big Ten
- Nittany Lions are 7-2 ATS last 9 vs. MAC
- Nittany Lions are 9-3-1 ATS last 13 conference games
- Nittany Lions are 3-8 ATS last 11 home games
Free Week 2 NCAA Football Pick
An outright upset may be a bit far fetched, but Ball State definitely has the offense to keep this one close. Plitt is an experienced and accurate QB, and the Cardinals return 10 of 11 starters on offense from last year’s squad.
The Ball State passing defense is a big concern as is the road atmosphere in Happy Valley. PSU fans usually don’t get up for a nonconference game against a MAC team, but they will when most of them haven’t seen live football (or tailgates) in a year.
4* Free Week 2 NCAA Betting Pick: Ball State +23
There’s always the chance that Penn State comes out too amped up in this one with crowds returning. That and the emotional roller coaster the team went on last week at Camp Randall always has the potential to take its toll.
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