Kent State vs. Penn State Live odds: 2018 college football picks, predictions from expert who’s 7-1 on Nittany Lions games
The Penn State Nittany Lions look to build on last week’s demolition of Pittsburgh when they host the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday at noon ET. The Nittany Lions are favored by 34.5 points, while the over-under for total points scored is 58.5 in the latest Penn State vs. Kent State odds. Each team has something to prove after mixed results through the first two weeks. Before you make any Penn State vs. Kent State picks, be sure to check out what SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has to say.
Oh, co-founder of AccuScore, specializes in sports simulations, projections and advanced statistical analysis. He is a consistent winner for SportsLine in every sport and now has turned his attention to college football.
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More importantly, Oh has had a keen eye for the tendencies of the Nittany Lions — he’s 7-1 picking their games against the spread the past two years. Now, he has analyzed Saturday’s showdown at Happy Valley and released a confident point-spread selection, which he is only sharing over at SportsLine.
Oh has taken into account the fact that Penn State has won 39 of its past 42 games hosting non-conference opponents.
The Lions’ defense made a huge turnaround last year. After allowing 25.4 points per game in 2016, a senior-laden unit gave up only 16.5 in 2017. Now only three starters are back from that team. While the players come from heralded recruiting classes of coach James Franklin the past three years, inexperience showed in a season-opening 45-38 squeaker over Appalachian State. But the Lions learned from their issues in Week 1 and shut down Pittsburgh 51-6 last Saturday, allowing just 291 total yards.
The offensive turnaround of Penn State the past four years has been striking. The team averaged 20.6 points in 2014, but last year, led by Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley, Penn State averaged a whopping 41.1. Barkley is gone but McSorley is back, as are four O-line starters. McSorley has thrown for 375 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in two games and junior running back Miles Sanders has done his part, rushing for 209 yards on 35 carries.
But just because Penn State has a prolific offense doesn’t mean it will cover a nearly five-touchdown spread.
These two teams have faced off twice in the past five years, and both went Penn State’s favor, 34-0 in 2013 and 33-13 in 2016. A similar score Saturday and the Flashes cover. Kent State returns 13 starters from last year and opened the season with a 31-24 loss at Illinois before cruising past Howard 54-14.
Quarterback Woody Barrett, a former Auburn recruit, proved he can compete against Big Ten competition in his first game for the Flashes. Against Illinois, he went 28 of 41 for 270 yards and two touchdowns and ran 18 times for 117 yards and a score. Penn State had issues against Appalachian State dual-threat quarterback Zac Thomas.
We can tell you Oh is leaning toward the under, but his analytics have unearthed a critical x-factor that will determine which side of the spread hits hard, and he’s only sharing it over at SportsLine.
So who covers Penn State-Kent State? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over Saturday, all from a data scientist who is a blistering 7-1 picking Nittany Lions games.