College Football Betting Preview: Penn St travels to Temple in Keystone State Battle

Penn St Nittany Lions at Temple Owls
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Saturday, September 17, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: (all odds courtesy of bookmaker) Penn St -12 1/2
Current Line: Penn St -7 1/2
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Penn St -290 / Temple +245

Penn St travels to Temple Saturday afternoon. Penn St is a 7.5 point favorite but the Nittany Lions opened as a 12.5 point favorite.

Last week Penn St lost at home to Alabama 27-11 in the only match-up between two ranked teams last week. Penn St was ranked #23 but fell out of this week’s poll after the loss. Coach Joe Paterno and the Lions fell to 1-1 on the season after a season opening 41-7 win over Indiana St. Now the Nittany Lions go on the road to nearby Temple. The two campuses are only about 200 miles apart, so expect lots of Penn St fans to make the trip to the Linc in Philadelphia. Temple is 2-0 after easy wins over Villanova 42-7 and Akron 41-3 to start the season. Temple is coached by Steve Addazio in his first year as coach. This is the 41st meeting between the two schools but Penn St has completely dominated the series with a 36-3-1 record, including a 22-13 win last year in Happy Valley. Temple has not beaten Penn St since 1941.

Penn St took an early 3-0 lead, but Alabama then scored 27 straight points. Penn St scored a late touchdown and 2 point conversion to make the score a little more respectable, but make no mistake Alabama was clearly the better team. The Crimson Tide easily covered the college football betting line.   The Nittany Lions were held to 251 total yards including 107 rushing yards. Three Penn St turnovers didn’t help either. Alabama had 359 total yards including 196 rushing yards.

Penn St has struggled to move the ball in 2 games this season, especially in the passing game. The Nittany Lions are averaging 305 yards, including 129 passing  yards a game. Penn St has allowed 3 sacks and 3 turnovers. PSU is averaging 26 points a game and are only 1 for 3 on field goal attempts this season. The Nittany Lions are only 10 for 27 on third down conversions. Penn St is allowing 264.5 yards a game this season, including 134 passing yards a game. Penn St has forced 2 sacks and 3 turnovers. They are allowing 17 points a game.

Penn St has alternated quarterbacks this season but neither Rob Bolden or Matthew McGloin have been great this season. Bolden is 17 for 41 for 181 yards and an interception, along with 8 carries for 21 yards. McGloin is 7 for 18 for 77 yards, and no touchdowns or picks. Running back Silas Redd has provided the majority of the offense with 34 carries for 169 yards and 3 touchdowns, and 2 catches for 2 yards. Receiver Derek Moye is the leading receiver with 7 catches for 108 yards. Kicker Evan Lewis is 4 for 5 on extra points but only 1/3 on field goals with a 43 yard kick.

Last week Temple crushed Akron 41-3 in the MAC opener for both teams. The Owls easily covered the college football spread. Temple allowed a first quarter field goal but nothing else to the Zips. Temple outgained Akron 416-269 in the rout. Temple had 305 rushing yards while Akron was held to just 42. Temple forced two Zip turnovers. Running back Bernard Pierce had 18 carries for 150 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Temple has outscored their two opponents 83-10 on the season. Of course it is a big step up to play Penn St rather than Villanova  and Akron. Temple is allowing 272 yards a game including 82 rushing yards a game. They have forced 10 sacks and 6 turnovers. Temple opponents are 11/35 on third and fourth down conversions. Temple is averaging 445.5 yards a game including 272.5 rushing yards a game. Temple has one turnover and has allowed 3 sacks.

Temple quarterback Mike Gerardi  is 21/37 passing with 328 yards, and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. Pierce is the leading rusher with 38 carries for 297 yards and 6 touchdowns. Back-up Matt Brown has 27 carries for 117 yards. Receiver Evan Rodriguez has 9 catches fro 105 yards. Rod Streater has 4 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Brandon McManus is perfect on extra points with 11, but is only 2/4 on field goals with a long of only 27 yards.

Penn St is 0-2 against the spread and both games have gone under the spread. The Nittany Lions are 1-10 against the spread in their last 11 September games. Penn St is 10-1-1 in their last 12 as a road favorite, 2-8 ATS in the last 10 non-conference games, and 0-4 in their last 4 games overall, and on grass.  Though Penn St has beaten Temple the last two years, Temple has covered both times and both games went under the total. Temple is 2-0 ATS this season with one game going over and the other game going under. Temple is 14-3 in Saturday games the last 3 seasons.  The Owls are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 September games, 7-1 ATS in the last 8 non-conference games, and 10-2 in the last 12 as a home underdog.

Temple is one of the MAC’s  top teams along with Northern Illinois. Judging by the line moving from Penn St -12 1/2 to -7 1/2, people have no respect for the Nittany Lions especially with the mediocre quarterback play. Temple has hung with Penn St recently, and could do so again this year. However, I like Penn St to cover the reduced spread, possibly with a late touchdown.

Our college football handicappers are off to a brilliant start this season. Our college football odds page allows you to find the best lines on every game.

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