“Week 0” was fun and we finished just 1-1. However, the real games start this Thursday and take us through Sunday with a nightcap on Monday night for Week 1! Our Northwestern Wildcats needed none of the 13.5 points we were spotted as they went on to win outright over the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Ireland.
Our Miners from UTEP put up a dud losing 31-13 to North Texas and promptly put us at .500 to start the season. We are treated to a healthy serving of 16 games on the Thursday night slate. A handful of those games will be ones with likes not being available but we have enough value on the board nonetheless.
A clash of perennial Big 10 powers will kick off at 8 pm EST on Fox with Penn State heading to West Lafayette to face the Purdue Boilermakers. A trio of top 25 teams will also be in action Thursday.
Oklahoma State will host Central Michigan, Pitt will do the same with West Virginia, and Wake Forest will welcome VMI to town in their matchup. Let’s take a look at what we will be playing on Thursday’s slate.
Penn State Nittany Lions -3 @ Purdue Boilermakers
Penn State had a tremendous start to the season last year when they rattled off five straight wins. Then QB Sean Clifford went down to injury and the team was never the same.
Clifford is back this season and that is a good sign for PSU fans and head coach James Franklin. However, there are questions about their offensive line which allowed a conference-worst 44 sacks last year.
Just like Clifford’s return for PSU is huge, so is the return of Aidan O’Connell for the Boilermakers. However, he did lose his top playmaker in David Bell.
Payne Durham and Tyrone Tracy will provide solid options between the hash marks but the run game is a huge question mark. O’Connell will be tested as the Nittany Lions will have depth in the secondary.
Pick Analysis: Why We Are Laying The Points
We always love home dogs, but not in this spot. Clifford will be the difference maker in this one along with a solid run game to complement his ability as a passer.
Purdue’s defensive line will not provide the type of pass rush that will truly affect Clifford and even if they do, he has the ability to extend plays and burn the defense with his legs. Give us the Nittany Lions in this one!
Key Trends: More Reasons to Like Penn State
- PSU is 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 games against Purdue.
- PSU is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games in September.
- Purdue is 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games at home.
- Purdue is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home against Penn State.
West Virginia Mountaineers @ Pittsburgh Panthers -7.5
There are some “high” hopes in Morgantown for this Mountaineer group in 2022-2023. After a 6-7 season last year, there were some changes made. The top is the transfer of JT Daniels from Georgia/USC to take over behind center.
To help guide him, West Virginia brought in Graham Harrell, who is familiar with Daniels from their time at USC. As for the playmakers, there are holes all over the field. Time will tell if Daniels and Harrell can work their magic with the pieces they currently have in place.
Kenny Pickett is off to the NFL and Jordan Addison is now at USC. However, the entire offensive line is back and Kedon Slovis has won the QB battle and brings one of the top arms in the conference with him.
It could be argued that no transfer has a better position to walk into than Slovis. Sure, Pickett leaves big shoes to fill, but the veteran offensive line and a rotation of 5 strong running backs will provide stability for Slovis all season. Defensively, the Panthers are deep at every position and will allow players to remain fresh all game long.
Pick Analysis: Why We Like Pitt
Many are writing Pitt off due to the loss of Pickett and Addison. Folks obviously love getting the Mountaineers as dogs in a game they believe they can win.
Daniels and Harrell will eventually get West Virginia back to an offensive power, just not in week 1. The last thing you want when trying to get an entirely new offense in place is to play a proven and deep defensive group like Pitt.
Key Trends: Pitt Has Been on a Tear
- Pitt is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall.
- Pitt is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games.
- West VA is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- West VA is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. ACC.