Back in 2015, after the Nittany Lions beat Army by six points as 25.5-point favorites, Penn State coach James Franklin said, “I have no concern about point spreads.”
Franklin may not care, but with sports gambling now federally legal, quite a few Nittany Lion fans do.
Penn State is a 24-point favorite against Appalachian State on Saturday. The over/under is set at 54.
Since Franklin’s arrival, the Nittany Lions have covered seven times in 14 tries in non-conference play. Penn State is 3-2 against the spread when favored by more than 20 points in the non-conference. Two of those betting wins came last season, when the Nittany Lions thrashed Akron and Georgia State by 52 and 56 points, respectively.
Of course, Appalachian State is known for its monumental upset of Michigan in 2007 — but the Mountaineers have given top teams trouble recently, too.
Appalachian State — the Sun Belt co-champions in 2017 — are 2-2 as underdogs against Power 5 squads the past two seasons. The Mountaineers lost by 21 to eventual SEC champions Georgia as 14.5-point underdogs in last season’s opener, beat Wake Forest a few weeks later and almost upset Tennessee in the 2016 opener as 20-point ‘dogs.
The Nittany Lions — who are 8-8-1 against the spread the last five years in September games, according to Odds Shark — will look to improve that mark and avoid being on the receiving end of another Appalachian State upset.
Penn State kicks off against the Mountaineers at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Beaver Stadium.