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Penn State vs. Pitt Betting Preview: Odds, Predictions, and Picks

14th September, 12:36

The 100 all-time meeting between Penn State and Pittsburgh will take place Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium, and you can, of course, get in on the action of the last scheduled game of the Keystone Classic by betting on it with PA sports betting up and fully operational. Let's get into it in our Penn State-Pitt betting preview.

Two questions from me-are you even a real Pennsylvanian if you don't bet on this one? Is there a point of being in the limits of the commonwealth if you're not involved? I think not.

As for the game, the Panthers have to be shaking in their boots. Nobody, absolutely nobody can stop this Penn State offense right now.

Not Idaho! Not Buffalo! Not...

Yeah, fine. We may be getting a little bit ahead of ourselves.

It's hard to argue that 124 total points in two games is pretty strong, but the Vandals and Bulls aren't exactly the stiffest of tests. Let's see what happens this Saturday when the Nittany Lions take yet another baby step away from the JV portion of their schedule. Then again, Penn State pounded Pitt last year in a 51-6 thrashing at Heinz Field, so we'll see.

For those interested in throwing some money on this in-state rivalry game, let's take a look at all of the need-to-know information in our full Pitt-Penn State betting preview.

Another week of college football action is upon us and so is another week of big sign-up bonuses, risk-free bets, and solid promos. As always, it's a good idea to make sure you're getting the cheapest prices, best spreads, and most lucrative bonuses, so be sure to shop around. Here's a look at what's out there this week:

FanDuel Sportsbook PA continues to be a top option for sports bettors, and we highly recommend it this week because of its $100 moneyline promo for new users on this game. New bettors can use the promo code CFB2019 to get involved. Here's how it works:

New users must make their first bet on either the Penn State or Pitt moneyline. If the bet wins, FanDuel will pay out the original bet and an additional $100 in site credit. Even at steep moneyline odds, users backing can basically cash a free $100 if 17-point favorite Penn State simply wins the football game.

For those of you over in the Garden State, check out our must-see NJ online sports betting page for a comprehensive rundown of the best promos and sign-up bonuses. Among the best:

William Hill NJ, which recently unveiled its new online sports betting platform, has emerged as a top option. You can take advantage of a free $50 when you place a $50 bet .

It will be Chris Fowler and Todd Blackledge on the call in this one. Blackledge's normal partner, Sean McDonough is being honored at Syracuse this weekend, so he's going to work the national game (No. 1 Clemson-Syracuse) alongside Kirk Herbstreit.

Here are the current Penn State-Buffalo odds at the top legal online sportsbooks as of 7 a.m. Saturday morning:

ESPN's FPI index gives Penn State a 93.2% win probability. It's always worth a look at how FPI win probability stacks up against the implied moneyline odds because sometimes there's such a notable disparity between the two numbers that it creates an opportunity for bettors to find value.

The Penn State moneyline of -875 at FanDuel carries an implied win probability of 89.7%, so in relation to the FPI number, there's actually some slight value on a Penn State play.

As for Pitt, the +590 payout carries a 14.5% win probability, which is far too short of a payout in line with the FPI probability. Simply put, the moneyline markets offered for Pittsburgh present absolutely no value.

As I noted above, this is the 100 meeting between these two programs. Penn State holds a 52-43-2 series lead and has won two of the last three meetings. Pitt grabbed a win in 2016 before Penn State responded with wins over the last two seasons, including the aforementioned 51-6 demolition as a 7.5-point favorite at Heinz Field last season.

Now, Penn State is looking to make it three in a row, and if recent history holds true, there is a pretty good chance that's going to happen. Since 1993, the Nittany Lions are 48-4 against FBS teams within 250 miles of Beaver Stadium.

I have to say, I wasn't too enthusiastic about Penn State's first half effort after I laid the 30 points on them against Buffalo last week. I figured I was in trouble right about here:

The Nittany Lions blitzed Buffalo by a 38-3 margin after halftime to escape with a cover. Just how I drew it up.

Despite the second half surge, there were some things James Franklin couldn't have liked. Buffalo out-gained Penn State 22-14 in first downs, put up 429 yards of total offense, and managed to convert 10 of 23 third down opportunities, which led to an overwhelming 42:32 minutes of ball control.

The Nittany Lions also converted only two of nine third down opportunities, and often struggled to sustain drives due to an underwhelming ground game that produced only 3.3 yards per rush.

Fortunately for Penn State, they were able to mask their inefficiency with some explosive plays and Buffalo's own self-inflicted miscues.

Pitt, meanwhile, built a 17-3 halftime lead, highlighted by a 74-yard touchdown pass from Kenny Picket to Maurice Ffrench (not a typo) on its way to a 20-10 win (and cover) at home over Ohio:

The outcome was never really in doubt with Pittsburgh's win probability never dipping below 75.7%.

Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett completed 26 of 37 pass attempts for a career-high 321 yards and a touchdown, while Pitt's rushing attack produced 160 yards.

In order to hang with Penn State this week, the Panthers will need to improve upon its 5-14 performance on third down and clean up the 10 penalties it was flagged for a week ago.

Overall, the Panthers are 15-12-2 ATS as an underdog under Narduzzi and 9-6-2 ATS when playing as a road underdog. While not spectacular, his teams are an excellent 3-0-1 ATS when an underdog of 14 or more points. One last thing: Pittsburgh is also 4-2-1 ATS under Narducci when coming off a cover and playing as a road underdog.

Franklin's Penn State teams are 23-12-2 ATS at Beaver Stadium and 19-10-2 ATS as a home favorite. Moreover, they are 9-5-1 ATS in September home games and 4-0 ATS at home when on a two-game winning streak.

Not bad.

Similar to last week, Penn State is coming off a contest in which it put up a big point total. While that might seem like a recipe for a letdown spot, that hasn't been the case.

When Penn State teams under Franklin score at least 40 points, they are 13-2-1 ATS in the following game. They are 4-1 ATS in such contests at home.

As of 9 a.m. Friday morning, 66% of the spread bets and 59% of the spread money is on Penn State across all reporting legal markets.

As for the total, 66% of total bets and 69% of the money is on the over.

Pittsburgh was embarrassed in this matchup last season, and I feel like that won't happen this time around. Historically, Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narducci's teams have been a good bet as a road underdog, particularly when a big spread is in play. Penn State's offensive explosion over the first two games has been impressive, but I think the Nittany Lions are in store for more of a grind-it-out, workmanlike game this week. I'm rolling with Penn State to win, but not to cover.