NCAA Football Betting Preview: Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Alabama Crimson Tide

Penn State Nittany Lions
(1-0, 0-1 ATS)

Alabama Crimson Tide
(1-0, 1-0 ATS)

Two of the most storied programs in the history of college football will meet in an NCAA football wagering war at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa under the lights, as the Penn State Nittany Lions and Alabama Crimson Tide lock horns in what should be one of the best games of the week.

Head coach Joe Paterno has been on the sidelines in Happy Valley for 60 years, but never before has he used a true freshman as a starting quarterback to open a season. That all changed this year with QB Robert Bolden taking charge. Though this test is going to be significantly tougher than the one he faced last week against the Youngstown State Penguins, at least Bolden got his feet wet against lesser opposition. He threw for 239 yards and two scores against just one pick in the 44-14 win over the Penguins. WR Brett Brackett proved to be Bolden’s top target, as he caught eight passes for 98 yards and both of his TD tosses. The only real surprise on the day was the lack of running by RB Evan Royster. Many thought that this was a dark horse Heisman Trophy candidate this year, but seeing the senior rush for just 40 yards on 11 carries against an FCS defense really removes any of those thoughts unless he goes absolutely crazy against the Tide.

Alabama opened defense of its championship on Saturday with a dominating 48-3 win over the San Jose State Spartans. Don’t get overly excited though, as SJSU is one of the worst ten teams in the FBS (and we might be being generous). The Tide were breaking in ten new defensive starters and came up with a grand effort that only resulted in one field goal allowed. The Spartans only went 1-for-13 on third downs on the day and totaled 175 yards and seven first downs. The offense, on the other hand, did exactly what it was expected to do even though RB Mark Ingram wasn’t suited. The unit picked up 591 yards and a whopping 30 first downs. The rushing game wasn’t fazed one bit by Ingram’s absence, as the top three rushers all had at least 60 yards and totaled four scores on the day. RBs Eddie Lacy and Trent Richardson are probably going to have to do a lot of grunt work against the Nittany Lions on Saturday night, as Alabama will most likely be without the services of the Heisman Trophy winner once again.

This could be one heck of a game, and a lot higher scoring one than many would believe. Remember the Rose Bowl between Penn State and USC two years ago that featured all those points? This could be the same sort of situation. Bolden knows that this could be the game of his life, and if the Alabama defense really does have a few shaky moments, this one could fly past the ‘total’. Conventional wisdom suggests going with either Alabama or the ‘under’. Call us contrarians if you wish. We believe the college football betting key to victory is banking on a high scorer.

Selection: Penn State Nittany Lions/Alabama Crimson Tide Over 44

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