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2021 Penn State Nittany Lions Football Betting Predictions

June 21, 2021
by Joe Williams

2021 Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Odds, Predictions, Preview

It was a tale of two seasons for James Franklin's Nittany Lions in 2020. A road loss to start the season at Indiana was stunning at the time, falling 36-35 in overtime on Oct. 24. However, as the season played on, that didn't look too bad. They played Ohio State tough on Halloween, falling 38-25 to an eventual playoff team. Again, not that bad.

It did get worse, though. A lot worse. They had a bad loss by 16 points at home to a poor Maryland side, and a setback at a very marginal Nebraska. They were dusted by 20 against Iowa, slipping to 0-5. It was the first time in school history that the Nittany Lions ever started 0-5. Don't expect that to happen again. Penn State finished 4-0 SU/ATS in the final four games, and that's more indicative of what you can expect in 2021.

The Nittany Lions have plenty of experience returning on offense, led by QB Sean Clifford. He'll have playmakers WR Jahan Dotson and Parker Washington under his passes downfield, and plenty of time with a decent offensive line leading the way. It's uncertain who will emerge in the Penn State backfield, but they add transfer RB John Lovett from Baylor. He will likely serve as a backup with Keyvone Lee, while Noah Cain starts out as the featured back.

Defensively, the Nittany Lions allowed 5.1 yards per play, and incoming transfers DLs Arnold Ebiketie and Derrick Tangelo should help bolster an already decent front. They're also one of the top secondaries in the conference. They just need LB Brandon Smith to emerge as a star and help out a slacking linebacker corps.

Another slow start could be in the offing, as they open at Wisconsin on Sept. 4, and have a non-conference tilt with Auburn on Sept. 18. But games against Ball State and FCS Villanova all but assure there will not be a repeat of last season's 0-5 start. However, it is very possible they could start out 0-3 in the conference, with a home game against Indiana on Oct. 2, and a trip to Iowa on Oct. 9. They also have to travel to Ohio State on Oct. 30, and that's never a good thing.

Another strong finish looks likely, as November features road games at Maryland and Michigan State, with two home dates against Michigan and Rutgers. Realistically, this team has the look of an eight-win team. The road schedule isn't kind, and a loss against Auburn early in the season could be possible. If they are able to top the Tigers, they might win a ninth game, for a push. But the lean here is to the UNDER.

Preseason Best Bet: Under 9 Wins (-125)

2021 Penn State Nittany Lions Schedule

  • 09/04/2021 - at Wisconsin
  • 09/11/2021 - vs. Ball State
  • 09/18/2021 - vs. Auburn
  • 09/25/2021 - vs. Villanova
  • 10/02/2021 - vs. Indiana
  • 10/09/2021 - at Iowa
  • 10/23/2021 - vs. Illinois
  • 10/30/2021 - at Ohio State
  • 11/06/2021 - at Maryland
  • 11/13/2021 - vs. Michigan
  • 11/20/2021 - vs. Rutgers
  • 11/27/2021 - at Michigan State

Win Total Odds

  • Over 9 +100
  • Under 9 -125


Penn State Odds to win 2021 Big 10 Championship

Yes +700

The Nittany Lions should be right on the tail of Ohio State in the East Division, but a loss against the Buckeyes on Oct. 30 will likely eliminate them from contention here. If that showdown were in Happy Valley, I'd give them a chance, but not in C-Bus.

Big Ten Conference Betting Odds

Penn State Odds to Win 2021-22 College Football Playoff

Yes +8000

With Penn State unlikely to appear in the league title game, and possibly suffering losses in two of the first three games, the chances of a CFP appearance are very slim. It would be a major surprise if they rebounded and were a double-digit win team in 2021. Don't count on the latter happening.

Penn State 2021 Heisman Contenders & Odds

Sean Clifford +10000

Clifford is a very good player, and he completed 60.6 percent of his passes for 1,883 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions while running for 335 yards and three scores. Those are good numbers, but not great ones. He needs to cut down his mistakes and seriously ratchet up the offense to be considered. It's unlikely he'll be a Heisman candidate by season's end, however. He just doesn't put up eye-popping numbers.

2021 Heisman Trophy Betting Odds

2020 Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Results

  • 10/24/2020 - Penn State 35 at Indiana 36 (+6.5) - Over, 62
  • 10/31/2020 - Ohio State 38 (-10) at Penn State 25 - Push, 63
  • 11/07/2020 - Maryland 35 (+27.5) at Penn State 19 - Under, 63
  • 11/14/2020 - Penn State 23 at Nebraska 30 (+2.5) - Under, 57.5
  • 11/21/2020 - Iowa 41 (-1) at Penn State 21 - Over, 45.5
  • 11/28/2020 - Penn State 27 (+1) at Michigan 17 - Under, 56.5
  • 12/05/2020 - Penn State 23 (-13) at Rutgers 7 - Under, 51
  • 12/12/2020 - Michigan State 24 at Penn State 39 (-14.5) - Over, 46
  • 12/19/2020 - Illinois 21 at Penn State 56 (-16) - Over, 54.5
  • SU: 4-5
  • ATS: 4-5
  • O/U: 4-4-1
  • ATS-Home: 2-3
  • ATS-Road: 2-2
  • ATS-Favorite: 3-3
  • ATS-Underdog: 1-2

Betting on the 2021 Penn State Nittany Lions

Where can I bet on the 2021 Penn State football team?

There are several legal sportsbook options in the United States. Visit our sportsbook directory to find online sportsbooks where you can bet on Penn State.

Is Online Sports Betting legal in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has both legal brick and mortar as well as PA online sports betting available in the state with college football betting available. Along with wagering on Penn State football, bettors can wager on Pittsburgh and Temple as well.

What other College Football bets are available?

Bets can be placed nearly every team in the FCS. Check out our NCAA Futures Odds to see odds to win the NCAA championship and each conference or visit our main NCAA Football page for the latest betting news.

What’s Penn State's point spreads for each of their games?

College Football odds are generally released early in the week when the game is scheduled to be played. For weekly odds, check out our College Football Vegas Odds page.

Where can I learn how to bet on College Football?

To learn more about betting on College Football, check out our football betting tutorial.

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