Big Ten College Football Betting Predictions: Penn St Nittany Lions at #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Penn State Nittany Lions at #16 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Saturday, November 10, 2012, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN2
Memorial Stadium – Lincoln, Nebraska
Opening Line: Nebraska -8
Current Line: Nebraska -8 1/2
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 51
Opening Money Line: Nebraska -325 / Penn St +275
Current Money Line: Nebraska -330 / Penn St +280
The Penn St Nittany Lions and Nebraska Cornhuskers meet for the 15th time Saturday in Lincoln. The series is tied 7-7, although one Penn St win was vacated due to NCAA sanctions. Nebraska leads the series 4-2 in Lincoln, and Penn St hasn’t played in Lincoln since 2003. Nebraska has won 2 straight against Penn St including 17-14 last year in State College.
Penn St is 6-3 this season and 4-1 in the Big Ten Leaders division under coach Bill O’Brien. While the Nittany Lions are in second place in the division behind undefeated Ohio St, neither are eligible for the Big Ten Championship game or to go to a bowl game because of NCAA sanctions. Penn St has gone 6-1 since starting 0-2. The Nittany Lions have home losses to Ohio 24-14 and Ohio St 35-23, along with a 17-16 road loss at Virginia. Penn St has home wins over Navy 34-7, Temple 24-13, Northwestern 39-28, and road wins at Illinois 35-7, Iowa 38-14, and last week at Purdue 34-9. Penn St is 7-2 ATS and the total is 4-5 this season. The Nittany Lions were 3.5 point favorites against Purdue and the total was 49.5.
Penn St is averaging 412.2 yards per game on offense, including 272 yards and 140.2 rushing yards. The Nittany Lions are outscoring teams 29-17 this season. Penn St is +9 in turnovers with 8 giveaways. The Nittany Lions average 53 penalty yards per game and have allowed 13 sacks this season. Penn St is 78/176 on third and fourth down conversions and 32/42 on third and fourth down conversions and 32/42 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns. On defense, Penn St is allowing 332.9 yards per game including 210.4 passing yards and 122.4 rushing yards. Penn St is in the top 25 nationally in total defense, against the run, and in points allowed. The Nittany Lions have forced 24 sacks and 17 turnovers. PSU opponents are 61/161 on third and fourth down conversions and 17/27 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns.
Penn St quarterback Matthew McGloin has completed 211 of 340 passes (62.1%) for 2,436 yards with 18 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also has 5 rushing touchdowns and has been sacked 12 times. Running back Zach Zwinak has 117 carries, 545 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 119 yards. Bill Belton has 59 carries, 259 yards, and 3 touchdowns along with 9 catches, 50 yards and a touchdown. Michael Zordich has 60 carries, 227 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 115 yards. Receiver Allen Robinson has 57 catches, 689 yards and 8 touchdowns. Tight end Kyle Carter has 35 catches, 441 yards and 2 touchdowns. he is questionable with an ankle injury. Brandon Moseby-Felder has 25 catches, 362 yards and a touchdown. Matt Lehman has 16 catches, 196 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jesse James has 9 catches and 3 touchdowns. Two offensive linemen and two defenders are questionable or out for Penn St.
Nebraska is 7-2 this season and 4-1 in the Big Ten Legends division under coach Bo Pelini. The Cornhuskers are tied with Michigan for the lead, but Nebraska holds the tie breaker because they beat Michigan 23-9 in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers also have home wins over Southern Miss 49-20, Arkansas St 42-13, Idaho St 73-7, and Wisconsin 30-27, along with road wins at Northwestern 29-28 and last week at Michigan St 28-24. Nebraska has losses at UCLA 36-30 and Ohio St 63-38. Nebraska is 5-4 ATS and the total is 5-3 this season. The Cornhuskers were one point underdogs in the Michigan St game and the total was 44.5.
Nebraska is averaging 487.3 yards per game, including 217.8 passing yards and 269.6 rushing yards. The Cornhuskers are outscoring teams 38-25 this season. Nebraska is #17 in total offense, #6 in rushing, and #20 in scoring. Nebraska is -9 in turnovers with 23 giveaways. The Huskers are averaging 68 penalty yards per game and have allowed 18 sacks. Nebraska is 55/123 on third and fourth down conversions and 36/42 scoring in the red zone with 28 touchdowns. On defense, the Cornhuskers are allowing 339.1 yards per game, including 156 passing yards and 183.1 rushing yards. Nebraska is #4 in pass defense. The Huskers have forced 14 turnovers and 24 sacks. Nebraska opponents are 53/152 on third and fourth down conversions and 22/28 scoring in the red zone with 14 touchdowns.
Quarterback Taylor Martinez has completed 154 of 245 passes (62.9%) for 1,941 yards, with 18 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. Martinez also has 117 carries for 666 yards and 8 touchdowns. Running back Ameer Abdullah has 151 carries, 826 yards and 8 touchdowns, along with 18 catches, 135 yards and 2 touchdowns. Abdullah also has a punt return for a touchdown. Rex Burkhead has 47 carries, 405 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 4 catches and a touchdown. He is doubtful with a knee injury after missing the last two games. Imani Cross has 34 carries, 348 yards,a nd 2 touchdowns. Braylon Heard is also questionable with a groin injury. He has 31 carries, 226 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fullback Mike Marrow is also out indefinitely with a knee injury. Receiver Kenny Bell has 33 catches, 622 yards and 6 touchdowns. Quincy Enunwa has 28 catches, 337 yards and a touchdown. Kyler Reed has 17 catches, 241 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jamal Turner, Ben Cotton, and Steven Osborne also get significant catches.
Penn St is 6-0 ATS after gaining more than 450 total yards, 4-0 in road games, 7-1 overall, 5-1 after a cover, 4-1 in Big Ten games, after a straight up win, and after allowing 20 points or less, 5-11-1 against teams with winning records, 2-5 after a straight up win of 20 points, and 3-11 after allowing less than 100 yards rushing.
Nebraska is 5-1 ATS at home, 20-4-1 at home against teams with winning records, 3-1-1 after allowing more than 200 yards rushing, 5-2 on fieldturf, 3-7-1 in November, and 2-5 against teams with winning records.
Bill O’Brien could be a candidate for national coach of the year, and will likely win the award in the Big Ten. These two teams are arguably the best teams in the conference other than undefeated Ohio St. Nebraska needs this game to remain in first place in their division. Penn St can only play the role of spoiler. I like Nebraska to win a close game at home.
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