Penn State Nittany Lions vs Wisconsin Badgers Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/04/2021

by Amedeus Mastrangelo

Game Time: 12:00 pm ET, Saturday, September 4, 2021
Venue:  Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
Where to Watch:  FOX


Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Point Spread:  Nittany Lions +5.5, Badgers -5.5; Over/Under:  50 points
Bet365:  Point Spread:  Nittany Lions +5.5, Badgers -5.5; Over/Under:  50 points
BetMGM:  Point Spread:  Nittany Lions +5, Badgers -5; Over/Under:  50 points

Season Record

Penn State Nittany Lions:  0-0 (Big 10 East)
Wisconsin Badgers:  0-0 (Big 10 West)
Do not miss out on our expert handicapper analysis! Ben Burns is 11-1 with his L12 NCAA Football picks. Make sure you check out his picks and many more from the expert handicappers featured in the Shop Picks section.


Penn State Nittany Lions vs Wisconsin Badgers Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Penn State Nittany Lions:  4 game winning streak
Wisconsin Badgers:  2 game winning streak


Nittany Lions vs Badgers Prediction

The Penn State Nittany Lions will be taking on the Wisconsin Badgers in this matchup for their first game of the college football season. Both of these teams are AP top 25 teams in the country as PSU comes in ranked 19th while Wisconsin is ranked 12th in the country. The Nittany Lions finished last season in 3rd place of the Big 10 East division with a 4-5 record overall, all of those games being within the conference. They were 2-2 on the road where they will be in this game. The Badgers finished the previous season in 3rd place of the Big 10 West division with a 4-3 record overall, going 3-3 in conference play. They were 2-1 in home games where they will be in this one.

The Nittany Lions are carrying over a four-game winning streak from last season. They finished the season strong with wins against Michigan, Rutgers, Michigan State, and Illinois, all of them by double digit margins. Their offense put up some pretty good numbers last season. They were averaging a 60.3% completion percentage, 256 passing yards, and 1.9 touchdowns per game through the air. They also averaged 174.3 rushing yards and 1.7 touchdowns per game on the ground. Their defense was very good in both aspects as they held teams to very low offensive numbers. They allowed their opponents a 59% completion percentage, 198.6 passing yards, and 1.7 touchdowns per game through the air. They have also allowed 130.4 rushing yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game on the ground. Head coach James Franklin is returning for another season with the Nittany Lions and last year was the first season that they finished below .500 with him coaching. They lost 5 games last season and that has only happened once in his first year coaching the team when they finished 7-6. The other years he has led them to impressive seasons finishing 11-3, 11-2, 9-4, and 11-2. There will definitely be some changes this season to shake up the program as they look to get back to that elite status.

Wisconsin is carrying over a 2 game win streak from last season. They finished strong with a win over Wake Forest 42-28 in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl and they also beat Minnesota in the previous game 20-17. Wisconsin's offense was alright last season. They averaged a 61.4% completion percentage, 181 passing yards, and 1.4 touchdowns per game through the air. They also averaged 164.6 rushing yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game on the ground. Their defense was amazing, especially their run defense. They were allowing teams a 50.5% completion percentage, 203.7 passing yards, and 1.7 touchdowns per game through the air. They also allowed 96.1 rushing yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game on the ground. They were virtually impossible to score on and move the ball against on the ground. Paul Chryst is returning for another season and he has never led this team to a below .500 year, even in a season last year that was riddled with covid-19 restrictions. They will be looking to get back on track as the year before last they went 10-4 overall. Their run defense was so good last year teams struggled to even run the ball for over 100 yards in a single game against them. This defense will have to be attacked through the air for some serious penetration.

The Badgers come in as a 5.5 point home favorite and with good reason as that defense is unreal. PSU does have a good run game though, and if they can control the run game and set the tone early, they will definitely have a chance to win this game. Overall, Penn State loves to run the ball more and Wisconsin has a great defense so this should be a pretty low scoring game that stays under the total.

Nittany Lions Badgers Prediction:  Our NCAAF Pick for Saturday, September 4, 2021 (12:00 pm ET start time) is Badgers 20 Nittany Lions 17.
Don't miss our champion handicappers free picks and expert football picks today.  And if you enjoyed this Penn State Nittany Lions Wisconsin Badgers prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our weekly NCAAF predictions and previews.

NCAAF Betting Trends

Penn State Nittany Lions: 2-0 ATS as a road underdog over the last 3 years. 6-3 ATS on the road over the last 3 years.
Wisconsin Badgers: 5-2 ATS when the total is between 49.5 to 56 points over the last 3 years.

Key Injuries

Penn State Nittany Lions:  C. Katshir (LB) Questionable Saturday with an undisclosed injury.
Wisconsin Badgers:  D. Davis III (WR) Probable Saturday with a concussion injury. K. Pryor (WR) Questionable Saturday with a concussion injury.

Players to Watch

Penn State Nittany Lions: Quarterback Sean Clifford is one player to watch in this game. This will be his 4th season with the team so he knows this offense really well. Last season he completed 152/251 passes for 1883 yards, 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He will want to keep building up his college resume with another great season and will be looking to set the tone early in this game so his team can pull off the upset.
Wisconsin Badgers: Quarterback Graham Mertz is one player to watch for the Badgers. This is his 3rd season with the team and will be looking to take a big step this year. Last year was his first real season where he played in 7 games completing 118/193 passes for 1238 yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Their defense really held them together last season so this is his chance to make a big offensive leap and give the team multiple dimensions to be a threat all year.

Notable Quotes

"Is it that this team is closer than any team I've been around, or does it just feel magnified after going through what we went through last year? I'm not really sure, and I don't know if it's fair to compare and contrast. But either way, I think we have a very close team, and that's not just the players. That's the staff, that's all of us in this thing together. And that usually results in good things for you." - James Franklin on his team’s chemistry as the players keep stressing how close everyone is.

“I was treated so unfairly in all of this. I want everyone to know that. They didn’t even want to hear my side. he literally broke into my dorm room and tried to jump me while I was sitting on the couch with my back turned to him he started it all.” - Loyal Crawford on being dismissed from the team as they deal with some internal issues with their players.

Starting Lineups

Penn State Nittany Lions
WR Dotson, Jahan 
WR Washington, Parker 
WR Lambert-Smith, KeAndre 
TE Strange, Brenton 
QB Clifford, Sean 
RB Cain, Noah 
RB Lovett, John 
Wisconsin Badgers
WR Pryor, Kendric 
WR Davis III, Danny 
TE Ferguson, Jake 
QB Mertz, Graham 
RB Mellusi, Chez 
FB Chenal, John 
Penn State Nittany Lions: James Franklin (8th season)
Wisconsin Badgers: Paul Chryst (7th season)

Weather Forecast

68 degrees F cloudy, 78% humidity, 20% chance of rain, up to 8 mph wind speeds W.

Amedeus Mastrangelo

About the Author:

Amedeus Mastrangelo has been heavily wagering on all sports for years and plays just about everything, including sides, totals, favorites, underdogs, against the spread, alternative spreads, first half, second half, player props, and futures. The bottom line is, if Mastrangelo can see an edge in any way shape or form, then he's going to take advantage.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2022 Al McMordie's All Rights Reserved.