Pitt, Hamler (1)

Penn State wide receiver KJ Hamler (1) tries to catch a pass at the game against Pitt at Heinz Field on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. No. 13 Penn State defeated Pitt 51-6.

After dispatching Idaho and Buffalo in the first two weeks of its 2019 campaign, Penn State enters Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh as a considerable favorite at Beaver Stadium.

According to Oddsshark, a website that aggregates betting news, odds and trends, the Nittany Lions are a 17.5 point favorite against the Panthers, despite the average score prediction being 36-21 in favor of the hosts.

Oddsshark calculates that 66 percent of people wagering on the contest have picked the Nittany Lions to win, and cover the spread, while 34 percent favor the Panthers to lose by 17 points or less. The average odds for both teams to cover are hovering around -110, with Pittsburgh getting -105 odds on certain sites.

Penn State’s average moneyline is -850, while Pittsburgh’s has hovered around +635, meaning if you were to place $100 on the Panthers pulling the upset, the payout would be $735.

According to Oddshark, the over/under for the game is 53. The consensus amongst those placing a wager on the outcome skews toward taking the over. Oddsshark states that 68 percent of those betting on the contest are projecting that the teams will score at least 54 total points.

Prediction: Penn State 38, Pittsburgh 17

Unlike the first two weeks, there is less of an obvious talent disparity between the two sides here, but Penn State giving 17.5 points against a Panthers team that only won six games in the ACC-Coastal last year seems favorable for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State comes into the game having covered in seven of its previous eight games at Beaver Stadium, with three of those covers coming by 15 points or more. The Lions are also 4-2 against the spread in their previous six games when favored by 14 points or more.

While the spread might seem to be a little inflated, the Panthers played some uninspired football in splitting their first two games at home. I think Penn State’s defense and running game will carry the Nittany Lions, and I like their odds to win and cover in this one.

If you're interested in submitting a Letter to the Editor, click here.