Early betting lines are available for half of Penn State’s 2022 football schedule, including the most notable games. And for the most part, oddsmakers like the Lions — except Ohio State, of course.
Fanduel has listed the following early lines for Penn State:
- Sept. 1: Penn State is a 3-point favorite at Purdue
- Sept. 17: Penn State is a 1-point favorite at Auburn
- Oct. 15: Penn State is a 6.5-point underdog at Michigan
- Oct. 22: Penn State is a 9-point favorite at home vs. Minnesota
- Oct. 29: Penn State is a 13-point underdog at home vs. Ohio State
- Nov. 26: Penn State is a 6.5-point favorite at home against Michigan State
Two of the most notable lines involve Penn State being a road favorite in the opener at Purdue and a double-digit underdog at home against Ohio State in late October. Let’s take them individually.
Penn State vs. Purdue
The Lions have won four straight games in West Lafayette dating to 2006, beating the spread in three of four. However, Penn State probably should be a road underdog against a team that went 9-4 last season and returns a dynamic offense (though it reportedly lost top receiver Milton Wright). The Lions seldom face intimidating atmospheres at Ross-Ade Stadium, which likely will be buzzing for this Thursday night opener. This line likely will move by September.
Penn State vs. Auburn
Unlike in the opener, Penn State probably should be a bigger favorite in its first trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn lost five straight to close the 2021 season, then underwent a harrowing offseason punctuated by a buyout standoff with head coach Bryan Harsin that resulted in his return. The Tigers are a mess, but this still is a home game against a Big Ten opponent that’s never visited before. Thus the home-field discount.
Penn State vs. Michigan
These teams have conducted a relatively one-sided series against the spread lately. Michigan is 6-2 against the spread vs. Penn State since 2014, including last year’s four-point Michigan win at Beaver Stadium. Michigan won’t field the Big Ten-champion roster it did in 2021 but is seventh in the ESPN preseason FPI and has one of the Big Ten’s better quarterback situations with Cade McNamara and J.J. McCarthy returning.
Penn State vs. Minnesota
The Lions at +9 seems generous, considering Minnesota went 9-4 last season and challenged for the West Division title. The Gophers have a rising star at receiver in Chris Autman-Bell and, like Penn State, a sixth-year quarterback in Tanner Morgan. Further, Morgan has reunited with his former offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, who also just happened to work at Penn State in 2020. Plenty of points trending in Minnesota’s direction.
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Penn State vs. Ohio State
Penn State contends best in the Big Ten when it faces Ohio State at home. The Lions won three of their four conference titles in seasons when they hosted the Buckeyes. That history, and the fact that Ohio State usually visits for the Whiteout, occasionally scales back the line.
However, oddsmakers aren’t holding back this year. Ohio State, at -13, has been a bigger road favorite at Penn State just twice since 1995, according to Oddsshark. The Buckeyes were +13.5 in 2014 and +17.5 in 2016. Of course, Penn State covered in both those games, winning outright in 2016, a game you might remember.
Penn State vs. Michigan State
Spring lines for November games can be viewed either as laughable or as an opportunity. Take advantage of an out-of-proportion number. After last year, Penn State as a 6.5-point favorite (even at home) against the Spartans initially seems silly.
What if head coach Mel Tucker has found another Kenneth Walker III this offseason, and what if quarterback Payton Thorne expands on his 2021 success? Or what if by November, the track of Tucker’s renaissance train might have grown wobbly? Either, this line needs much more time to develop.
At SI Sportsbook, bettors can get Penn State at 75/1 to win the College Football Playoff title.
AllPennState is the place for Penn State news, opinion and perspective on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than 20 years, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich. And consider subscribing (button’s on the home page) for more great content across the SI.com network.