Week 1: Nittany Lions vs Owls Odds
College football betting sees the Penn St Nittany Lions taking on the Temple Owls Saturday September 5th at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions.
Penn St (0-0) vs. Temple (0-0)
Date: Saturday, September 5th
Time: 3:30 PM
Venue: Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia
NCAA Football Spread: Temple +7
NCAA Betting Total: 39.0
NCAA Moneyline Odds: Temple +220
This has been the talk of Pennsylvania college football fans for many months now. Penn St with a much more successful history and spread of football tradition has been the most known and rooted for college football team in Pennsylvania for many years.
That hasn’t changed and likely never will. But, it doesn’t mean Temple won’t have something to say about it when the teams meet to open their respective seasons at Lincoln Financial Field.
Penn St quarterback Christian Hackenberg’s stats don’t necessarily show how gifted of a player he is. Diminished last season by very poor offensive line play, Hackenberg spent most of his time evading a pass rush and less time standing where he does his finest work – the pocket.
He only threw for 12 touchdowns while throwing 15 interceptions. He still posted a 109.4 quarterback rating but that was down from his rating of 134.0 in 2013.
The main stat to explain that is the number of times he was sacked. Sacked just 21 times in 2013, Hackenberg was sacked 44 times last season – tied for second most in the FBS. While the offensive line can be blamed for some of that, Hackenberg also needs to make decisions quicker.
Wideout DaeSean Hamilton should make that easier for Hackenberg as one of the top wideouts in the Big Ten.
Defensively, they’ll bring back 7 starters from a unit that gave up the 8th fewest points per game in the FBS last season.
It took Ohio State four quarters and two overtimes to get over 30 points against Penn St – a mark the Buckeyes hit in every game but one.
Like Hackenberg, Temple quarterback P.J. Walker had a disappointing 2014 season after a breakout 2013 campaign. He still played well enough for a 107.7 quarterback rating but like Hackenberg, that was down from his 150.8 rating in 2013.
Walker started 2014 relatively strong but struggled down the stretch – particularly against Penn St when he threw four interceptions. Walker threw interceptions in eight of 12 games in 2014.
He’ll need to protect the football much better than that if Temple is going to have a chance to compete not only against Penn St but also in the AAC.
Temple brings back every starter from a defense that ranked 6th in the FBS in scoring in 2014. They also bring back 8 starters on the offensive side of the ball.
Experience will always provide benefits to a team when they get to crucial moments in a close game. However, too much experience being on the losing side of close games doesn’t necessarily bode well.
So despite bringing back 19 starters from last year’s team, Temple is 2-11 in the past two seasons in games decided by 10 or fewer points.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
• Penn St was 6-6-1 ATS in 2014, including 5-0 in non-conference games.
• Temple was 6-6 ATS in 2014, including 2-2 in non-conference games.
• Penn St was 0-3-1 ATS as away team in 2014.
• Temple was 3-5 ATS as underdog in 2014.
• Temple was 3-3 ATS as home team in 2014.
Week 1 NCAA Football Prediction
Both teams will bring back experience on both sides of the ball. They both will have their starting quarterbacks from 2014. Penn St’s offense has what it takes to put up lots of points if they protect Hackenberg. That is a big IF.
After being sacked 44 times last season, Hackenberg and his line will be tested right away this year by the top front seven in the AAC.
Temple’s experience and strong defense will do enough to keep them in the game. But, shown by their 2-11 record in games decided by 10 or fewer points in the last two seasons, they won’t have what it takes to win the game outright.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Temple +7
Temple could really provide a scare if they get pressure on Hackenberg and they will certainly keep it close but right now they lack the offensive firepower to knock off the Nittany Lions.
Week 1 Score Prediction: Penn St 24 – Temple 20
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