West Virginia vs Penn State Prediction - College Football Picks 9/2/23

Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0) vs West Virginia Mountaineers (0-0)

Game Info: Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 7:30 pm (Beaver Stadium)

Betting Odds: Penn State Nittany Lions -20.5 -- Over/Under: 52 Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The West Virginia Mountaineers will play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a non-conference game in Week 1 on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pennsylvania. West Virginia comes into this game looking to get off on the right foot, while Penn State has College Football Playoff expectations.

West Virginia Preview

The West Virginia Mountaineers were 5-7 last season and they went 3-6 in the Big 12. West Virginia got wins against Towson, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers went 2-4 on the road and opened the season with a road loss at Pittsburgh last year. West Virginia’s defense had plenty of issues in 2022, allowing at least 31 points in six of their last eight games. That is not good news for West Virginia, as this Penn State team is expected to have a high-powered offense. The West Virginia offensive line is returning all of production from last year and they should be pretty solid this season. The Mountaineers have not announced who will start at quarterback for this game, but I am thinking it is going to be Garrett Greene, who has a little more experience. At the running back position, the leading rusher from last year transferred, but that is not expected to be an issue. West Virginia should be improved from last season, but this is a tough game to open the season with. 

Penn State Preview

The Penn State Nittany Lions were 11-2 last year and they went 7-2 in the Big 10. Penn State only lost to Ohio State and Michigan and they finished the season with five straight wins. The Nittany Lions ended the year with a Rose Bowl victory against Utah by a score of 35-21. Penn State should be very good this year and their season will most likely come down to how well they play against Michigan and Ohio State once again. In those two losses, Penn State allowed 44 and 41 points. Drew Allar will be the starting quarterback and their is a ton of buzz about him, but he hasn’t played much. The ground game should be very good as Nicholas Singleton, who rushed for over 1,000 yards, is returning, as well as Kaytron Allen. Just like West Virginia, the Penn State offensive line is experienced and should dominate the trenches against most teams. Penn State is going to be good once again, but can they beat the two big boys in the Big Ten East?

Penn State Nittany Lions Team Facts

  • Penn State has won each of its last 19 September games against non-AP-ranked teams.
  • Penn State has covered the spread in each of its last six games as a favorite.
  • Penn State has won the first quarter in 16 of its last 17 games against non-conference opponents at Beaver Stadium.
  • Penn State has won the first half in each of its last five games against non-conference opponents at Beaver Stadium.
  • Five of Penn State's last six season openers as a favorite have gone OVER the total points line.

West Virginia Mountaineers Team Facts

  • West Virginia has lost 23 of its last 24 games as an underdog against AP-ranked teams.
  • West Virginia has failed to cover the spread in nine of its last 11 games as an underdog against top-15 AP-ranked teams.
  • Each of West Virginia's last four games as a road underdog have gone UNDER the total points line.

Matchup/League Facts

  • Penn State ranked T8th among FBS teams for Q4 win percentage last season (.692).
  • Penn State ranked 9th among FBS teams for Q2 points per game last season (12.1).
  • West Virginia was one of only 20 FBS teams to win 3+ games when trailing at HT last season.


Penn State comes into this game as a huge favorite to win, but they will be facing a West Virginia team that I think will be much improved. The Mountaineers do have a question mark at the quarterback position, which could be an issue in Beaver Stadium, which is a very loud stadium. I think Penn State is going to be one of the best teams in the country this year and they should have an offense that can put up a ton of points. With that in mind, I do think West Virginia will score a few times, so I am taking the over in this matchup. 

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

Mitch's Take...

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