Indiana Hoosiers vs. Penn State Nittany Lions: Odds, Football Betting Pick

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2017

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley throws during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The Penn State Nittany Lions own serious bragging rights in the series with the Indiana Hoosiers, winning 19 of 20 meetings all-time, going 3-1-1 against the spread over the last five. Coming off a thrilling victory on the Big Ten road last week, the Nittany Lions are home to host the Hoosiers on Saturday afternoon up in Happy Valley.

College football point spread: The Nittany Lions opened as 18-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark (line updates and matchup report).

College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 45.1-22.2 Nittany Lions (college football picks on every game).

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Why the Indiana Hoosiers can cover the spread

Since opening this season with a closer-than-the-score-indicated loss to Ohio State the Hoosiers are 2-0 both SU and ATS, including a 52-17 romp/cover over Georgia Southern last Saturday. Indiana led 21-0 after the first quarter and 31-0 before allowing the Eagles to hit the board. Near the end, as GSU tried to push the 21-point spread, the Hoosiers defense pulled a strip-six to preserve the cash.

On the day, Indiana outgained the Eagles 468-375, and about three-quarters of the yardage the Hoosiers allowed came in prevent-mode. Freshman running back Morgan Ellison, making his first career start, accounted for 194 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns, and J-Shun Harris returned a punt for a score for the second straight game.

As mentioned above, Indiana opened this season with a 49-21 loss to Ohio State, but the Hoosiers led that game 21-20 late into the third quarter before fading. Indiana then went on the road and beat what's now a 3-1 Virginia team 34-17.

      

Why the Penn State Nittany Lions can cover the spread

Penn State must be awfully happy to be 4-0, after beating Iowa last week 21-19 on a touchdown on the last play of the game. The Lions led 15-7 through three quarters, fell down 19-15 on a Hawkeyes touchdown with just under two minutes to play, but drove 80 yards and won it on Trace McSorley's bullet in the end zone to Juwan Johnson with zeroes on the clock.

Penn State dominated play, outgaining Iowa 579-273, outrushing the Hawkeyes 295-82 and winning time of possession by a 40/20 margin. But the Lions twice were held to short field goals after long drives, missed two makeable field goals, and a McSorley interception led directly to an Iowa touchdown.

Fortunately, running back Saquon Barkley accounted for 305 yards from scrimmage on 40 touches, including 12 catches, and Johnson caught seven balls for 92 yards and the big score.

Penn State opened this season beating Akron, Pitt and Georgia Southern by a combined score of 141-14.

         

Smart pick

Penn State owns this rivalry, but lately, the games have been close. Last year in Bloomington, Indiana led 31-28 late into the fourth quarter, when the Lions scored the last 17 points for a fortunate cover. Three years ago, the final score was 13-7. And four years ago, the Hoosiers beat Penn State 44-24. Indiana probably won't win this one, but the smart money at sports betting sites wagers the Hoosiers.

       

College football betting trends

The total has gone under in three of Indiana's last four games on the road against Penn State.

The visiting team is 1-5 ATS in its last six games in this matchup.

Penn State is 11-1-1 ATS in its last 13 games.

    

All college football odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.