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Penn State Opens as 9-Point Underdog to Pitt

The oddsmakers do not have high hopes for the Nittany Lions

Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

Penn State will face off against Pitt for the first time since 2000, and the oddsmakers aren't expecting things to fall in the Nittany Lions' favor. On Friday, the South Point Casino Hotel released it's betting lines for a plethora of notable games throughout the 2016 college football season. Outside of the Pitt game on Sept. 10, no other betting lines were released for Penn State games this fall.

Pitt is coming off what is considered a successful season by their own recent standards, finishing with an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Military Bowl, a 44-28 loss to the 22nd-ranked Navy Midshipmen. The Panthers are entering year two of the Pat Narduzzi era. The former Michigan State defensive coordinator is being counted on to bring stability to the Panthers, a program that is now on its seventh head coach (including interims) since Dave Wannstedt resigned following the 2010 regular season. He exceeded expectations in his first year and is being credited for bringing a new, hard-nosed culture to Pitt football.

Pitt could receive a major boost with the return of running back James Conner, the 2014 ACC Player of the Year. Conner is expected to make his triumphant return to the field in 2016 after a battle with Hogdkin lymphoma. Regardless of rooting interest, fans across the nation will be pulling for Conner to make a speedy recovery and return to form as one of the nation's best running backs. Conner is a true throwback- a bruising power back who has also been known to wreak havoc as a defensive end when called upon. His exact return date is yet to be determined.

Penn State will take on Pitt on Sept. 10 at Heinz Field. A kickoff time has not been announced.