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Minnesota vs Penn State Betting Line and Analysis

10/17/09

Penn State hosts Minnesota in a crucial Big 10 game Saturday. The Nitanny Lions opened as a -15.5 point favorite and the money has poured in on Penn State all week at Sportsbook.com making the Lions a -17.5 favorite. The total on the game is 49.

Before the season started it looked like the stars had aligned to give Joe Paterno his one last chance at not only a Big 10 Title, but a National Title. They had a very good team coming back, and their schedule was very light. Unfortunately for Joe Pa and his Nittany Lions they just canít figure out how to beat Iowa, and for the 2nd straight year the Hawkeyes knocked Penn State out of National Title contention.

All is not lost though. This Nittany Lion team is still very much in the hunt for a Big 10 title, and if they want to keep it that way they need to avoid another upset when Minnesota comes to Happy Valley. This Gopher team is very talented, but they just havenít been able to close out the big game. In their loss to California they were all tied up at 21-21 going into the 4th quarter and couldnít close out the victory and lost 35-21. Then against Wisconsin they had a 13-10 lead at halftime, but then gave up 21 points in the 2nd half to lose the game 31-28.

PRIMETIME MATCHUP

The Nittany Lion offense that had been the issue with this team is finally starting to come around. Since their loss to Iowa where they only scored 10 points, they have put up 35 and 52 in their last two games. With their offense finally doing its job it makes the defenseís job even easier without having to win games for them. Although we expect this Penn State offense to once again hold up its end of the deal, we believe that the key to this game is the matchup with the Nittany Lion defense against Minnesotaís QB Adam Weber.

The weakness of the Minnesota offense is the strength of the Penn State defense. Minnesota is last in the Big 10 averaging just 114 yards a game on the ground. Penn State is #1 in the Big 10 in stopping the run allowing just 82 yards per game. With Penn State being able to stop Minnesotaís rushing attack rather easily, the game is going to come down to if Adam Weber can lead this Minnesota team down the field with his arm. Penn state is #2 in the Big 10 in pass defense allowing just 174 yards per game through the air, so Adam Weber is going to have to have one of his best games of his career to be able to move the ball up the field on this tough Nittany Lion defense.

The one thing Weber does have going for him is his target WR Eric Decker. Weber will need to find Decker early and often and get the ball in his hands because he has the ability to score from just about anywhere on the field.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Penn State has been playing with a chip on their shoulder ever since losing to Iowa for the 2nd straight year. This Nittany Lion team knew exactly what was taken from them when the Hawkeyes left with the victory. Their BCS Title hopes might be all but gone, but they still understand that they are playing for a spot in the Rose Bowl and a Big 10 title.

At the same time, other than Iowa, which they lost to, Penn State has yet to play anyone. It's safe to say Minnesota has played a tougher schedule and has also been in every game they have played. Hard to advise laying -17.5 with Penn State here. Anytime a line crosses key numbers or multiples of key numbers you've got to take notice. This game opened -15.5 and is now 17.5 making the Gophers the value side here. Minnesota +17.5

 

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