It’s going to be a Happier Valley this fall. Penn State football returns Saturday, September 4 with a road game against Wisconsin. But the biggest highlight may arrive a week later, when the Nittany Lions host Ball State in Beaver Stadium, which will be at full capacity for the first time since the COVID pandemic began.
More than 107,000 fans will fill the stands. Tailgates will return. The famous “white out” game will be back at some point too.
And if that’s not enough to produce some excitement, just take a peek at the rest of Penn State’s schedule. A home night game in Week 3 against Auburn. Upstart Indiana visits in October. An Ohio State game looms near Halloween and a home showdown with Michigan awaits in November.
Pennsylvania sports betting apps are already filled with lines for the 2021 NCAA football season. Let’s take a look at futures odds and game lines for Penn State football.
2021 Penn State Nittany Lions Week 1
DraftKings Sportsbook has the Nittany Lions as 4.5-point underdogs in the season opener at Wisconsin. Penn State is +160 on the moneyline, while Wisconsin is +190.
FanDuel has slightly different pricing, with PSU as a 3.5-point underdog and +144 on the moneyline. With more than a month before the season begins, as always, it pays to do some comparison shopping, as odds and pricing could fluctuate in the weeks ahead.
In the last meeting between these teams in 2018, Penn State won 22-10 in State College.
Penn State 2021 Week 2 lines
In Penn State’s home opener a week later, DraftKings has listed the Nittany Lions as 20.5-point favorites over Ball State with a moneyline price of -1500. Ball State is +850.
College Football Week 1 lines
Penn State isn’t the only team facing some big games in the opening weeks. The college football season begins Saturday, August 28th, with a number of games in that first week. Here’s a quick snapshot of some early-season games, with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.
Saturday, August 28
- Nebraska (-8) at Illinois
- Hawaii (+16.5) at UCLA
- Temple (+13.5) at Rutgers
Thursday, September 2
- Boise State (+4) at UCF
- Ohio State (-13.5) at Minnesota
Friday, September 3
- North Carolina (-5.5) at Virginia Tech
- Michigan State (+6) at Northwestern
The full slate of games starts on Saturday, September 4th with most conferences and teams in action then. Lines for many of the games are available at Pennsylvania sportsbooks.
Penn State Football 2021 National Championship odds
The Nittany Lions are 50-1 to win the 2021/22 college football national championship. Defending champion Alabama (+250) is the favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. The top five in college football futures are as follows:
- Alabama: +250
- Clemson: +380
- Ohio State: +550
- Georgia: +600
- Oklahoma: +750
Penn State Big Ten Championship odds
FanDuel Sportsbook has Penn State third in Big 10 Championship futures. The Nittany Lions are +900, behind both Ohio State and Wisconsin. The complete list of Big Ten futures odds is below.
- Ohio State -220
- Wisconsin: +600
- Penn State: +900
- Iowa: +900
- Indiana: +2000
- Michigan: +2500
- Minnesota: +3000
- Nebraska: +4000
- Northwestern: +5000
- Michigan State: +10000
- Purdue: +10000
- Maryland: 10000
- Illinois: +25000
- Rutgers: +25000
2021 Penn State Nittany Lions win total
Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks also have win totals posted for several teams in the upcoming season, including Penn State. Here are a few numbers for the Nittany Lions:
- DraftKings: Over 8.5 (-125)/Under 8.5 (+105)
- FanDuel: Over 9 (+125)/Under 9 (-150)
- William Hill: Over 9 (+110)/Under 9 (-130)
2021 College football win totals “tougher” for oddsmakers this year
Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill said the sportsbook put up more more win total markets this season than usual.
“Setting these win totals is one of the most difficult jobs for us every year. It was even tougher for these just because there wasn’t much to gauge from last season with COVID screwing everything up.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if we were off on some of these win totals. Usually there’s a pretty good formula for these. You’ve got 12 games, they went 10-2 last year, they’ve got this many starters returning, you look at their schedule—and you can pretty much make a number. But there’s not much to base off from last year and so many more kids are coming back with the extra COVID year.”
Alabama and Clemson opened with the highest win totals of any team, as each has been set at 11.5 with the over at -120 and under at even-money odds.
“Usually the public will bet over on win totals that high and the sharps will bet the under,” Bogdanovich said. “The sharps know that a key injury or one fluke game, and they cash. It’s usually not a huge decision because the number is set so high, so some may shy away from betting that. But I’m guessing we’ll need the under for something like in previous seasons.”
Sean Clifford Heisman Trophy odds
Redshirt senior quarterback Sean Clifford should lead the Nittany Lions’ offense in 2021. Clifford is entering his third year as a starter and has been somewhat inconsistent in the previous seasons, leading Penn State to a 15-7 record over that span. Here are his Heisman Trophy odds at some of Pennsylvania’s sportsbooks.
- FanDuel: (+5000)
- DraftKings: (+7500)
- BetRivers: (+10000)
2021 Penn State schedule and betting lines
Penn State 2021 betting lines
(From DraftKings PA sportsbook)
- Sept. 4: Penn State (-3.5) at Wisconsin
- Sept. 11: Ball State at Penn State (-20.5)
- Sept. 18: Auburn at Penn State (-7.5)
- Oct. 2: Indiana at Penn State (-6.5)
- Oct. 9: Penn State (+3.5) at Iowa
- Oct. 23: Illinois at Penn State (-20.5)
- Oct. 30: Penn State (+10.5) at Ohio State
- Nov. 6: Penn State (-9.5) at Maryland
- Nov. 13: Michigan at Penn State (-7.5)
- Nov. 20: Rutgers at Penn State (-17.5)
- Nov. 27: Michigan State at Penn State (-13.5)
The Auburn matchup is such a big game that even airlines have taken notice. Earlier this month, SI.com reported that both Delta and United have added some non-stop flights to State College in advance of the game.
Many have also wondered if the Penn State “white out” will return for the Auburn showdown. Certainly, the conditions are ripe for it. A night game against a huge opponent. A stadium crowd that’s finally allowed to be at full capacity. The excitement and energy have been building for months. It’s been a long time coming. That’s why it will be a Happier Valley this fall.
Lead photo Chris Knight/AP