Cue up the Spider Man pointing at himself meme because the Penn State at Purdue betting matchup for week one features two teams in very similar situations. Both squads return their starting QBs from a year ago but also lost last season’s top receiver to the NFL. The Nittany Lions spent time in the top 5 in 2021, while Purdue beat two top 5 ranked teams a year ago.
It’s always tough to predict how the season opener will play out, especially when Penn State and Purdue haven’t met since 2019 (PSU 35-7 win). Oddsmakers still have the Nittany Lions as -3.5 road favorites and a slight 57% of the betting public likes PSU to cover that number.
Penn State Would Like to Get Running Game
Sean Clifford has played in 38 games in his career at Penn State and the QB is back for his redshirt Senior season in State College. Clifford threw for 3,107 yards last season with 21 TD and 8 INT with a 61% completion rate. Clifford’s impressive season allowed the Nittany Lions to rank 22nd in the nation in passing yards/game with 274.4.
Penn State could seemingly throw the ball at will last year, but it’s going to take time to develop a replacement for Jahan Dotson who had 91 catches, 1182 yards, and 12 TD and was taken 16th in the NFL by Washington. Despite all that success through the air though, Penn State faltered after a 5-0 start, finishing just 2-6 after that.
One of the biggest reasons Penn State wasn’t as dominant as they should have been last year was because they lacked balance on offense, running for just 106.4 ypg which was the 118th worst mark in the country. PSU was 13th in the Big Ten in rushing and welcomes three new starters on the offensive line – for better or worse. You want to control the clock and not get in a shootout with this Purdue team.
Can Purdue’s Passing Game Thrive in Opener?
The Boilermakers are +3.5 underdogs in Penn State at Purdue betting but is the value on the home team? Sure it’s the season opener, but Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell showed a mastery of this offense last season throwing for 3,712 yards with 28TDs to along with a masterful 71.8% completion rate.
If healthy there’s no reason O’Connell can’t exceed his numbers from 2021. He only played three games in 2020 before ending a season ending foot injury and had to split time at the start of last year. Once O’Connell got the job he never looked back, and led Purdue to some big wins with 375 yards against #2 Iowa, 536 against #3 Michigan State, and 534 in the Music City Bowl against Tennessee.
Purdue did lose their top receiver David Bell (1,286 yards) to the NFL but feel they have more than adequate replacements ready to step in. The big loss to the pros could be DE George Karlaftis who went #30 to the Chiefs and anchored a defense that was 21st vs. the pass allowing just 194.6 ppg.
Free Penn State at Purdue Betting Pick
The Boilermakers basketball team rose to #1 last season, could a similar dream year be in store for the football squad? You just simply can’t bet against this passing attack in the season opener.
Free Pick: Purdue +3.5