College Football Preview: Akron at Penn State, Free Pick, Vegas Odds

For the second time in 4 years, the Akron Zips head to Happy Valley to face the #6 ranked Nittany Lions of Penn State. Kickoff inside of Beaver Stadium is at 12 P.M. ET. Will Penn State continue their magical run of 2016 or will the Zips trip them up and cause the Nittany Lions to stumble out of the gate?

Vegas Betting Line: Akron vs. Penn State and NCAAF Game Preview

The Akron Zips were derailed in 2016 by injuries. Heading into the season, the Zips looked to be in contention for their conference division. Unfortunately things didn’t go as hoped. Their defense struggled to maintain form, they lost the turnover battle and were clearly on the wrong end of time of possession. This season, they look to right the ship on both sides of the ball and try to get to another bowl game.

The Penn State Nittany Lions need to come out of the gates hot and look to set the tone for the 2017 season. They’re expected to make a run at the Big 10 conference title and a spot in the CFP. For those goals to become a reality, they need to win convincingly against inferior opponents like Akron. PSU has the talent on both sides of the ball to dominate the Zips.

The point spread opened at PSU giving up 35 points. That number has come down slightly, with the current spread at -33. A few sportsbooks may even have it at -32.5 for PSU.

College Football Free Spread Pick and Prediction: Penn State -33

Last season, Penn State came out of the gates slow and looked to be an average team at best. However, by October, things turned around and they became one of the hottest teams in the country. The Nittany Lions offense will be led by the tough and gritty Trace McSorley who threw for over 3,600 yards with 29 TDs and 8 INTs last year. McSorley also added 356 yards on the ground and rushed for 7 touchdowns. He will be called on to orchestrate a passing attack that returns most of their top receiving threats including one of the best tight ends in the conference – Mike Gesicki.

Arguably the best running back in the nation is Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. When he gets rolling, this offense is unstoppable. Barkley finished the season with just under 1,500 yards rushing and 402 yards receiving. He had 22 total touchdowns and an average of 5.5 YPC in 2016. Saquon has a legitimate chance of breaking 2,000 total yards this season.

Akron had the 114th ranked defense in 2016 with a terrible pass rush. Additionally, they were unable to stop the run, which led to their defense being gassed by the end of the game. They’ve also lost their top defensive ends and corners from last year. Which may or may not be a bad thing considering how inept the defense was.

Relying on their offense to hang with PSU’s offense will only last for about a quarter. Akron won’t be able to consistently stop Penn State’s offense from scoring and the Nittany Lion defense will eventually figure out the Zips offense and get to the quarterback Woodson, causing turnovers and killing drives.

Akron is 1-5 ATS when playing Penn State and 1-4 ATS when playing at Happy Valley. PSU is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games and 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games on grass. PSU averaged 37 PPG and only gave up 18 PPG at home in 2016. Akron gave up 32 PPG on the road last year.

This has the makings of a huge blow out. The only question is – how much will PSU win by? Look for the offense to blow the game out early allowing the defense to tee off on Woodson.

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