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Penn State vs. Virginia
Pick with Analysis
Penn State looks to bounce back this week after an opening week home loss to Ohio U as they hit the road to take on Virginia. Virginia is in off a 43-19 opening week romp over Richmond. Virginia is a whopping -10 point favorite in this game at 5 Dimes and when taking a look at the betting percentages at sportsbook.ag, the early action on this one is fairly balanced.
As we go through this weeks card, it looks like one common trend for us is going to be to look real close at games that present us with added value as a result of LAST weeks results. This game seems to fit the bill. You have a reeling Penn State team in off an opening HOME loss to a MAC opponent and you have Virginia who rolled over their opponent. But let's take a closer look at this one.
Sure, Virginia looked good. But consider their opponent, Richmond. Richmond is from the Colonial Conference. If we were talking college hoops, well, maybe we'd have something. But this is football folks. The Colonial Conference has teams like James Madison, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. To put last weeks opponent for Virginia in perspective, consider that Richmond lost 8 straight games to end their season last year, losing 31-7 to James Madison, 28-7 to UMASS and 24-10 to Delaware, just to name a few. Also consider that Virginia outscored Richmond 16-0 in the first quarter, but it was a 6-6 2nd quarter, a 7-6 3rd quarter and a 14-7 4th quarter.
Penn State on the other hand, lost to a highly regarded MAC team picked by many to contend for a Top 25 ranking this year and throw a monkey wrench into the BCS Bowl picture. Had Penn State traveled to Virginia last year, they may have been favored by as much as a field goal. Our score prediction model, using years stats, comes up with a predicted final of 16-14 in Favor of Penn State.
Now, we are fully aware of all that transpired at Penn State and the impact that could have on this team. However, they have to be glad to have that first game behind them and may actually enjoy playing on the road this week. You have to ask yourself, is all that transpired worth 10 points on the line or more? Again, if we put aside the scandal for a moment, it's a 9-4 Penn State team a year ago, a team that lost to Nebraska by just 3 and hung in there against Alabama. A Penn State defense that was among the best in the nation. Virginia was 8-5 and struggled to get by Indiana and Duke and was blown off the field by Virginia Tech and Auburn.
Perhaps our refusal to believe that Penn State is just a shell of their former selves will cost us. We acknowledge the likely growing pains associated with having a new head coach and we acknowledge the impact this scandal has had, and can continue to have on this program. Despite it all, we don't think it's worth 10 points. The feeling here is that talent wise, Penn State is still on a level playing field with Virginia. We're likely going to see an improved effort this week from the Nittany Lions while we're also very aware that Virginia isn't as good as last weeks score would lead many to believe. We're going to go ahead and grab the 10 points here in a game that we wouldn't be shocked to see Penn State win straight up. Penn State +10
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