Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4)
January 1, 2022 12:00 pm EDT
The Line: Arkansas Razorbacks +2.5 ; Over/Under: 45
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The Arkansas Razorbacks and Penn State Nittany Lions clash Saturday afternoon in the college football Outback Bowl from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Penn State finished off the year at 7-5. The Nittany Lions lost to Michigan State in their last game. As for the Razorbacks, they’re 8-4 so far and coming off a win over Missouri. Check back all season long for free college football picks at Sports Chat Place.
Penn State got off to a nice 5-0 start this year, then began to stumble against some of the Big Ten teams. The Lions went just 2-5 over their final seven outings, beating Maryland and Rutgers while otherwise losing to Iowa, Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.
In the Michigan State game back on November 27, the Nittany Lions were within three points at the break. Penn State kept pace from there but ultimately fell 30-27 in a tough one. QB Sean Clifford finished with 313 yards and three scores, while Keyvone Lee had 79 yards on 15 carries.
Over on the Arkansas side, they started at 4-0 this year before losses to Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn. The Razorbacks finished the year on a 4-1 run, losing to Alabama with wins over AR-Pine Bluff, Mississippi State, LSU and Missouri.
On November 26 against Missouri, the Razorbacks were up just 10-6 at the half. Arkansas scored 24 points from there in a 34-17 win. QB KJ Jefferson put up 262 yards with a TD, and Raheim Sanders rushed for a couple of touchdowns himself.
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The Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five after an ATS loss and 4-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games. Penn State is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 as a favorite and 1-4 ATS in their last five in January.
Meanwhile, the Razorbacks are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine on grass and 16-7-1 ATS in their last 24 overall. Arkansas is 5-11-2 ATS in the last 18 non-conference games and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 after an ATS win.
PICK: I’m going to try Penn State here. I could really go either way on this one, though; it should be a fun matchup. The Nittany Lions gave up a steady stream of offense to Michigan State in their last game: 451 yards, 5.9 yards per play, 21 first downs and 12-of-22 on third- and fourth-down tries. Penn State kept up admirably but couldn’t get over the proverbial hump in the second half.
As for Arkansas, they didn’t have much trouble in their last game against Missouri, notching 425 yards and 8.0 wars per play. Arkansas has been scoring pretty well over their last seven games or so, and I think this one will be a high-octane offensive game as well. If Penn State plays to their capabilities I think they can cover but this one seems like a coin flip. Should be a very fun matchup to watch.