Big Ten Saturday Night Odds: West Virginia at No. 7 Penn State

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Written By Kelley Ford | Last Updated
big ten saturday night odds

Big Ten Saturday Night odds are available across the best college football betting sites, as the 2023 season is underway. Each week, I am going to preview the new centerpiece game in primetime on NBC and Peacock. You’ve likely already heard the new theme song with Fall Out Boy: “Here comes Saturday night! Here comes Saturday night! Described as the gem of the new Big Ten TV deal, this game will feature the biggest B1G football game of the week, as determined by NBC executives and the conference office. The season debut features West Virginia going into Happy Valley at night, in front of a raucous Beaver Stadium crowd full of Penn State fans.

What do my KFordRatings make of the Week 1 game, and how does it compare to the best available sports betting odds in your state? Let’s discuss. Click on the odds anywhere below to bet now.

BIG TEN Saturday Night Odds: WEST VIRGINIA AT NO. 7 PENN STATE

Eight days before the first NFL Sunday Night Football game of the 2023 season kicks off, we get Big Ten Saturday Night odds for a game at the second-largest football stadium in the land: Beaver Stadium in Happy Valley. Kickoff is 7:30 pm ET.

No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions

The Nittany Lions are currently favored by 20.5 and it isn’t too difficult to understand why. Since 2016, Penn State has finished each college football season with the following year-end rank and percentile rating, in my historical data set:

  • 2016: No. 12 (91.8)
  • 2017: No. 3 (98.0)
  • 2018: No. 9 (91.1)
  • 2019: No. 7 (94.9)
  • 2020: No. 27 (74.8)
  • 2021: No. 16 (86.5)
  • 2022: No. 6 (95.3)

With the exception of the 2020 COVID-19-disrupted season, Penn State has never finished outside the top 16 of my year-end power rating rankings since 2016. This program has consistently been, at worst, the fourth-best team in the Big Ten. More years than not, the Nittany Lions have been the third-best team in the conference.

The biggest problem for Penn State during this period has been that the two best teams in the conference, Ohio State and Michigan, also reside in the vaunted Big Ten East Division. The Big Ten has announced that 2023 will be the final year of divisional play (time will tell if the additions of Oregon and Washington change those plans), but for one more year, Penn State is forced to reckon with the stiff challenge of facing both the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

That’s later in the season, though. For this week, the No. 9 power-rated Nittany Lions are taking on a West Virginia team that I have power-rated No. 55 nationally. With the No. 5 projected defense and No. 20 projected offense, I am projecting Penn State to have a significant advantage on both sides of the ball, as West Virginia’s offensive and defensive unit ranks are No. 40 and No. 82 nationally, respectively.

With AP preseason first-team All-American cornerback Kalen King leading the way, my numbers are confident this Penn State defense should be an elite unit in 2023.

The question will be just how good will former five-star quarterback recruit Drew Allar be in his first season as the Penn State signal caller? He’ll have an All-American protecting his blind side in Olu Fashanu. I’m projecting 9.5 regular season wins, on average, for the Nittany Lions, with a 54% chance to win at least 10 regular season games.

If Allar can live up to the hype, this Penn State team has the roster talent to make a run at a College Football Playoff berth. My current numbers assign the Nittany Lions a 16% chance – eighth-best in the nation – to make the CFP for this first time.

West Virginia Mountaineers

The story of West Virginia’s season could come down to the schedule. By my numbers, it is the No. 21 most difficult in the entire country, second-most difficult in the Big 12 behind only Texas. But as we dive deeper, it paints an even more ominous picture. The following are the national unit rankings for each of the FBS offenses the Mountaineers will face this season:

  • at Penn State (No. 20)
  • vs Pitt (No. 41)
  • vs Texas Tech (No. 22)
  • at TCU (No. 15)
  • at Houston (No. 25)
  • vs Oklahoma State (No. 34)
  • at UCF (No. 39)
  • vs BYU (No. 38)
  • at Oklahoma (No. 9)
  • vs Cincinnati (No. 76)
  • at Baylor (No. 30)

The Mountaineers’ average FBS opponent offensive rank is No. 32. That is toughest schedule of opposing FBS offenses in the country. Couple that with the fact that West Virginia’s defense is projecting as the No. 82 unit nationally, third-worst in the Big 12, and you can see why my numbers are projecting only 4.8 regular season wins for the Mountaineers and assigning just a 31% chance to go bowling.

My numbers project Penn State to win by 19, which equates to a 91% win expectancy for the Nittany Lions.

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