Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#117 Northwestern vs.
#118 Penn State
Saturday, October 1, 2022 at 3:30pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

Northwestern will be looking to snap a three-game losing streak when it travels to No. 11 Penn State on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats were favored in all three of those losses after knocking off Nebraska in Week 0. Penn State has won all four of its games this season, including a 33-14 win over Central Michigan last week.

Hull leads country in all-purpose yards per game

Northwestern is hitting the road for its first true road game of the season. The Wildcats played a neutral-site game in Ireland against Nebraska in Week 0, springing a 31-28 win as 12.5-point underdogs. They have been terrible since then, losing three consecutive home games to Duke, Southern Illinois and Miami (Ohio). Northwestern was favored by at least one touchdown in all three of those losses—it was a 7.5-point underdog in its 17-14 loss to the RedHawks last week. The Wildcats have struggled with turnovers this season, as they have given the ball away nine times over the past three weeks.

Junior quarterback Ryan Hilinski has completed 62.3% of his passes for 1,194 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. Junior running back Evan Hull has been the key man offensively, rushing for 370 yards and three touchdowns on 85 carries, averaging 4.4 yards per attempt. He has also caught 29 passes for 311 yards and an additional score, leading the nation with 181 all-purpose yards per game. Hull runs behind an offensive line that is powered by Peter Skoronski, who is projected to be a first-round draft pick. The Wildcats have averaged just 20.3 points per game since their season opener, though.

Penn State trying to avoid looking ahead

Penn State has been a pleasant surprise this season since knocking off Purdue on the road to open the season. The Nittany Lions have followed that up with three straight blowout wins over Ohio, Auburn and Central Michigan to stay unbeaten. They have a showdown with No. 4 Michigan on deck, so this is a bit of a look-ahead spot for the Nittany Lions. Quarterback Sean Clifford completed 22 of 34 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns against the Chippewas, adding 23 yards and a touchdown on the ground. He leads an offense that has scored at least 33 points in all four of its games.

Clifford has completed 64.1% of his passes for 890 yards, eight touchdowns and one interception. Freshman running back Nicholas Singleton has made an immediate impact for Penn State, rushing for 367 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries. Wide receiver Parker Washington, tight end Brenton Strange and Mitchell Tinsley have each gone over 200 receiving yards. Penn State forced four turnovers in its blowout win over Auburn, so it will be opportunistic against a Northwestern team that has been dealing with turnover issues. The Nittany Lions have taken care of the ball, turning it over just once.

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Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


This line has ticked up a point since opening at -24.5, and I am going to buy back on Northwestern as a huge underdog. Turnovers are one of the most variance-prone statistics in football, making it a key aspect of handicapping. Northwestern has dealt with turnovers as much as any team in the country over the past few weeks, leading to multiple close losses. Hull has been the most impactful player in college football, so I am happy to back him and the Wildcats as massive underdogs, especially considering their poor turnover luck. Penn State has a showdown with No. 4 Michigan on deck, so the Nittany Lions are not going to be locked in on Northwestern.

Prediction: Northwestern +25.5

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Northwestern is going to score more points than the betting market expects if it can take care of the ball, which is what I expect to happen on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats are going to put their spread bettors and over bettors in a good position if they can make that happen. Penn State’s offense has been as explosive as any team in the country, scoring at least 33 points in all four of its games. The Nittany Lions have gone over in four of their last six games, and these teams have gone over in four of their last six head-to-head meetings.

Prediction: Over 52.5

Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. 
Follow on Twitter @Blake_Vonhagen