Pitt Aims To Put In-State Rival Penn State On Upset Alert

The Nittany Lions are favored by 17 points at home but could have trouble with the Panthers

Pittsburgh @ Penn State

Saturday, September 14, 12:00pm EST

Consensus Odds: Pittsburgh +17

BetQL Odds: Pittsburgh +6.5

BetQL Rating: ★★★★ (Pittsburgh)

  • After losing their season-opener, Pitt responded with a win and cover vs. Ohio last week.

  • The Panthers only allowed 212 yards against an upstart Ohio team

  • The Nittany Lions lead the all time series between the two (52-43-4).

  • Penn State is ranked No. 15 in the national AP poll.

Pittsburgh Panthers

After a disappointing opener against Virginia, the Panthers bounced back and took down a strong MAC team in Ohio. The Panthers covered the -4 consensus line and won 20-10 while suffocating the Bobcats offense. Limiting star quarterback Nathan Rourke to only 177 yards through the air and sacking him five times, the Pitt defense under Pat Narduzzi looked more like the stingy group we’re used to seeing. 

Junior quarterback Kenny Pickett played one of his best games as a Panther. He went 26-for-37 with 321 yards and a score as Pitt raced out to a 20-3 lead. Wide receiver Maurice Ffrench is proving to be an early favorite of Pickett’s as the senior wide receiver has already hauled in 16 passes in two games. The Panthers and Narduzzi are entering Saturday with revenge on their mind after dropping last season’s matchup to the Nittany Lions 51-6. 

There are 6 different teams with ★★★★★ ratings in BetQL’s Week 3 College Football Model. View them now! 

Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions enter the inter-state rivalry with Pitt at 2-0 on the young season. Replacing former quarterback Trace McSorley will be a difficult task for redshirt junior Sean Clifford and he’ll face his biggest test to date against Pitt. While the Nittany Lions did pull away last week against Buffalo to a final score of 45-13, the final score didn’t tell the whole story. 

Buffalo actually led 10-7 after the first half and it took an early second half interception return for a touchdown for Penn State to finally take the lead. What’s more, the Bulls actually out-gained the Nittany Lions, 429 yards to 357. Head coach James Franklin will need to have his team ready to go on Saturday as another slow start against better competition could spell trouble.

What Does the BetQL Dashboard Say?

BetQL’s model has the Panthers as a ★★★★ bet against the spread this week with a consensus line of +17. BetQL’s model has the line tighter than that, as the Panthers are only a +6.5 underdog in our model (10.5 point difference). 

The home favorite Nittany Lions are currently receiving 59 percent of the bets and 77 percent of the money (as of Thursday morning). With the nationally-ranked program at home, it’s no surprise that the public is backing the favorite here. But, it’s not always the best idea to bet with the field. This is one of those cases.


  • Coming off of a win hasn’t slowed the Panthers down as of late as they are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games following a straight up win.

  • Conversely, the Nittany Lions are only 1-4 against the spread in their last five games after a win against the spread

  • Since restarting the series in 2016, the Panthers have won once (2016) while Penn State has taken the last two (2017, 2018)

  • Three of the last six meetings between the two programs have been decided by a touchdown or less