Penn State vs. Idaho Betting Preview: Odds, Predictions, and Picks

penn state idaho betting preview

After some palatable appetizers wrap up on Thursday and Friday night, it’s time to tear into the main course on Saturday as college football makes its glorious return on August’s final day–our betting Penn State vs. Idaho betting preview.

There are plenty of quality matchups across the country on the Week 1 schedule. Some games will be wild, some will go down to the wire, and some, well, some may be comfortably over by halftime. But fear not, Penn State fans, even if your team rolls over Idaho as expected (moneyline is off the board in most places), you can add some extra intrigue to your day now that PA online sports betting and NJ online sports betting are fully live and legal.

You can even bet on the games while tailgating in the parking lot or sitting in your seat at Beaver Stadium. I think I just got the chills.

College football is back, baby. Let’s go.

How to Bet on Idaho-Penn State


It’s all about the value. With multiple online betting options at your disposal, it makes sense to take advantage of the best promos. Risk-free bets, bet matches, and deposit bonuses are aplenty, so make sure to capitalize on all of the deals out there right now.

Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-Gambler. Only 1x Wager Applies, Playable in PA Only

FanDuel Sportsbook PA is offering new users a $500 risk-free bet when they sign up. They are also offering a generous +2019 payout on a college football spread bet.

But wait, there’s more!

FanDuel is offering “close loss insurance” on games, too. Get up to a $50 refund on moneyline bets if your team loses by 6 or less. While this game figures to be a blowout, there are plenty of other games on the board that could provide a perfect opportunity to cash in on this promo.

You can bet also bet on iOS with SugarHouse Sportsbook. If getting a $250 deposit match is something that you might be interested in, and it should be, then you can grab it when you sign up right here .

New Jersey

For those of you in New Jersey, there are plenty of betting options at your disposal. Hit our NJ online sports betting page for all of the best promos and deals in the Garden State. There are a few deals that we recommend.

First, we strongly suggest William Hill NJ which recently rolled out its new online sports betting platform. William Hill is offering a free $50 when you place a $50 bet .

PointsBet is another great and option and is offering a new promo– deposit $50, get $100 .

And lastly, the GOAT, DraftKings Sportsbook, is offering a $200 first bet match and up to $500 in deposit matches for all users.

How to Watch

If you won’t be at the game, here’s the watch info:

  • Date: Saturday, August 31
  • Time: 3:30 p.m.
  • Location: Beaver Stadium
  • Network: Big Ten Network
  • Sirius/XM/Internet: 133/195/372

Penn State-Idaho Odds

Here are the current Idaho-Penn State odds at the top legal online sportsbooks:

FanDuel Sportsbook

    Spread     Money        Total
Idaho     +39.5 (-110)  OFF  OFF
Penn State     -39.5  (-110)  OFF  OFF

SugarHouse Sportsbook

    Spread     Money        Total
Idaho     +39.5 (-110)   OFF   O 58.5 (-110)
Penn State     -39.5 (-110)   OFF   U 58.5 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook

    Spread     Money        Total
Idaho     +39.5 (-110)   OFF   O 58.5 (-110)
Penn State     -39.5 (-110)   OFF   U 58.5 (-110)

Win Probability

ESPN’s FPI index gives Penn State a 99.4% win probability. Typically, it’s worth a look at how FPI win probability stacks up against implied moneyline odds, but with such a massive spread and the moneyline currently off the board in this game, there’s no comparison point for value.

Just know that this would be an upset of monumental proportions if Idaho rolled into Beaver Stadium and pulled off a win.

Penn State-Idaho Betting Preview

No Miles Sanders. No Trace McSorley. No problem?

It shouldn’t be a problem – at least not this week – as the No. 15 Nittany Lions open their 2019 campaign at home against what should be a totally overwhelmed Idaho squad.

This game marks the dawn of the Sean Clifford era as the strong-armed sophomore quarterback, who was also named a team captain last weekend, will look to get off to a hot start after emerging as the winner of James Franklin’s prolonged quarterback competition.

Clifford should receive plenty of help from a talented group of running backs that are each expected to contribute with Sanders now in Philadelphia.

Ricky Slade, the top all-purpose back of the national 2018 recruiting class, is expected to provide big-play pop, while Journey Brown and true freshmen Devyn Ford and Noah Cain should also get meaningful touches.

Meanwhile, KJ Hamler is expected to be one of the most explosive playmakers in the Big Ten, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he made a few flash plays on Saturday:

Still, it’s all about the defense at Penn State, and this is a matchup that Idaho head coach Paul Petrino can’t be too enthusiastic about.

All-Big Ten selection Yetur Gross-Matos leads a deep defensive line and sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons, who led the team in tackles a season ago despite starting only a single game, appears on the verge of becoming the conference’s top linebacker.

It’s expected to be tough sledding for opposing offenses going up against this defense and that likely starts this week.

Meanwhile, despite expecting a boost after transferring from the FBS to FCS last season, Idaho struggled to a 4-7 overall record.

They are, however, expected to perform better in the Big Sky this season with eight offensive starters back, including four along the offensive line. Defensively, they return their leading tackler and added three FBS transfers to the mix.

Still, it’s hard to get past the two games in which they had to step up and play prominent FBS schools last season.

They were rocked in a 79-13 rout at Fresno State in Week 1 and were then hammered in a 63-10 blowout by Florida in Gainesville in mid-November.

Why Betting Penn State Makes Sense

Penn State can cover big numbers

First, let’s start with how Penn State has performed under Franklin as a home favorite in August and September.

The Nittany Lions are 8-5-1 ATS in such games.

Meanwhile, Penn State hasn’t been favored by 39 or more points dating back to at least 2005, but they are 2-1 ATS in the three games they have been favored by 30+ points under Franklin.

The Nittany Lions routed Georgia State, 56-0, as a 37.5-point favorite back in September of 2016 and beat Kent State last season, 63-10, as a 34.5-point favorite. Their lone failure to cover came back in 2017 when they didn’t cover a 31-point spread in a 35-6 win over Rutgers.

Contextually, big lines shouldn’t scare away PSU backers because Franklin typically doesn’t hesitate to roll with prominent players beyond halftime in blowouts.

Historical trends back a Penn State play

From a more general standpoint, there are some historical trends at play that also support Penn State. Teams that are favored between 39 to 41 points in their first game are 23-11-1 ATS dating back to the 2005 season.

The 58.5 total is meaningful, too, because teams favored by 39-41 points when the total closes anywhere from 57-60 points are 16-6 ATS dating back to ’05.

40 is a magic number

As of Friday morning, this line has snuck back down to Penn State -39.5, but it has hit -40 at various sportsbooks throughout the week. Keep an eye on the number because there are some interesting trends that come with it.

While all teams favored by 40 or more points at home in August and September games are only 97-105-3 ATS, Big Ten teams are 14-6 ATS over the last 15 seasons. They are also 3-1 ATS when favored by 40-49 points at home in Week 1.

Oh no, Idaho…

The Vandals are 0-4 ATS the last four times they have been an underdog of 39 points or more.

Why Betting Idaho Makes Sense

Despite a lack of win/loss success, Idaho is 13-6-1 ATS over its last 20 games.

One word of caution about Penn State in this spot. Despite the positive trends above, the Nittany Lions are only 3-7 ATS the last 10 times they opened the season at home, including last year’s failure to cover as a 24-point favorite when they squeaked by Appalachian State in overtime.

The final reason to stay away from Penn State here has a lot to do with where the money is going. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Leaning Over

I like the over in this one.

In 156 games dating back to 2005 when the home team is favored by 38-42 points, the over is 90-61-5.

When the home team is favored by 40-42 points, the over is 46-29-4, and when the spread is 38-42 points and the game total is 56-60, the over is 26-19.

Betting Splits

DraftKings has provided us with betting splits on Idaho-Penn State. The money is overwhelmingly on Penn State as of Thursday afternoon.

penn state idaho betting splits penn state

Penn State-Idaho Prediction

I won’t lie, I’m not thrilled about where the money is at in this game, but I like Penn State for a few reasons:

  1. Last year’s Week 1 close-call against Appalachian State should be enough motivation alone for Penn State.
  2. The Penn State-specific, conference-specific, and correlated spread/total trends overwhelmingly support a Penn State play.
  3. Idaho hasn’t covered its last four games as an underdog of this magnitude and was shredded against both high-profile FBS teams it faced last season.


Penn State 53, Idaho 10

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