A win over Ohio this past Saturday would have been step No. 1 in Penn State’s long road to recovery from near death following the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The Nittany Lions, who had dropped to 5.5-point favorites from -7 versus the Bobcats, were expected to play with purpose and emotion in their season opener at Beaver Stadium. The program had immeasurable pressure upon itself and, instead of lifting the State College community, crumbled in a 24-14 loss.
That upset at home and the ever-present cloud of the scandal has made Penn State early fade bait for Week 2’s road trip to Virginia
The Sports Club, a Las Vegas-based oddsmaking service, released PSU +7 for Saturday’s game in Charlottesville. Online books opened the Nittany Lions at +8.5, padding the spread for the expected flood of early money on the Cavaliers. And the public, as predicted, has run the line all the way to PSU +10 as of Monday morning, stopping on a dime at the key number.
Here’s a look at the opening lines and early reaction for some of Week 2’s biggest games:Florida Gators at Texas A&M Aggies (-2.5)
The Aggies make their SEC debut against one of the gatekeeper programs of the conference. The Sports Club opened Texas A&M as a 2-point favorite versus Florida in College Station, which will serve as the site for ESPN’s College Game Day broadcast Saturday. Books have tagged a half-point hook on that spread as of Monday morning.
The Gators are coming off an unimpressive Week-1 effort versus Bowling Green, winning 27-14 and failing to cover as 28-point favorites. Florida head coach Will Muschamp is still undecided on his starting quarterback for Week 2 – a decision that could bump the line before kickoff.Wisconsin Badgers at Oregon State Beavers (+7.5)
Another poor performance from a Big Ten team has forced bookmakers to trim the spread when the Beavers host the Badgers in Week 2. Wisconsin was nearly knocked off by FCS Northern Iowa last weekend, escaping with a 26-21 win and falling very short of the 32.5-point spread.
The Sports Club sent out a suggested line of Badgers -11 in the always-tricky Reser Stadium but sportsbooks posted an opening line of OSU +7.5, where it has remained steady. Oregon State, which had its Week 1 opener versus Nicholls State
postponed due to Hurricane Isaac, has had two full weeks to prepare for Wisconsin, which blasted the Beavers 35-0 in Madison last year.
Georgia Bulldogs at Missouri Tigers (+3.5)
Missouri is another program making its SEC debut in Week 2. The Tigers stretched their legs with a 62-10 win over Southeastern Louisiana in Week 1 but now get their first test in the form of the Bulldogs. Georgia wasn’t sharp versus Buffalo in Week 1, coming away with a 45-23 victory as a failed 38-point favorite.
The Sports Club sent out UGA -6 as their suggested spread but books weren’t too impressed with the Bulldogs’ opening effort and cut the line to -3.5. Georgia head coach Mark Richt has tagged this matchup as a “monster game” and has been preparing for the Tigers all offseason. The line is currently staying put at Mizzou +3.5 as of Monday morning.