Is life too short to bet the under? The BSD Staff gathered (digitally) earlier this week to discuss just that as they made their picks for some player over/unders for the 2021 football season.
Sean Clifford: 31.5 passing touchdowns
Chris: Under. Not to be a Debbie downer, but anything over 30 passing TDs is TOUGH. And as much as I’m excited for Yurcich’s offense, I’m just having a hard time envisioning Clifford surpassing even Trace McSorley’s best season.
Lando: Under. I think 30 is a slight possibility if he has a a few four touchdown games, but it’s hard to see that happening more than maybe once.
Marty: Under. There are few Penn State fans out there with less confidence in Sean Clifford than yours truly. If Cliff goes over 31.5 TD passes... then I fully expect the Nittany Lions to bounce back and win 10+ games.
Patrick: I disagree with my counterparts and am going over! Like I said during my Five Things I Know I Know article, this isn’t so much a vote of confidence in Clifford, but rather working with the idea that Yurcich is going to really modernize the offense. That means giving the quarterback some easy, stat-padding throws against the non-elite opponents. Clifford will still have his fair share of interceptions — double-digits, no doubt — but I think we see some big time games from Cliff against the lower-level teams like Rutgers and Michigan.
Noah Cain: 999.5 rushing yards
Chris: Under. I fully expect a RB by committee approach, and while I do expect 1-2 backs to get a bit more time, I don’t think anyone exceeds 1,000 yards on the ground.
Lando: Under. Nothing against Cain’s talent at all, but expect the running back by committee approach early on before one guy separates himself, which, even if that’s Cain, will give him less time to reach 1K.
Marty: Over. Penn State’s offense will be built on the running game and, if healthy, Cain is their best back and he’ll go over 1,000 yards.
Patrick: I am going over here. While I understand that Penn State likes essentially all of their running backs, I think Cain is going to be special.
Jahan Dotson: 9.5 receiving touchdowns
Chris: Under. See my comments on Clifford above. Jahan will eat, to be sure, but so will Washington Parker, and at least one of Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson. I don’t think any one receiver goes for 10+ TDs.
Lando: Over. Jahan’s ready for a great year, baby!
Marty: This is another over. Combine Dotson’s talent with Clifford’s issues with locking onto his top option and this one seems like a gimme.
Patrick: It’ll be close, but I’m going under here. In the red zone specifically, I think the offense utilizes Brenton Strange and Theo Johnson a bit more than people expect, which will take a few touchdowns away from Dotson.
Non-Ebiketie Defensive End: 4.5 sacks
Chris: Under. Look, SOMEone is going to have to play opposite Arnold, but I don’t really have a ton of faith in one person cementing the position all to themselves. If we instead see a continuous rotation, I’m not sure anyone can get to the QB that many times.
Lando: Under. I know people are concerned about the depth on the defensive line, but I’ll think optimistically and say this will be under because of the constant rotating at DE.
Marty: This is a tough one... but give me the under. With Adisa Isaac out defensive end is a major issue for Penn State and this is coming from a guy who is super high on both Nick Tarburton and Zuriah Fisher. QB play and a poor pass rush may be Penn State’s two biggest deterrents this season.
Patrick: I’d lean under here, but I wouldn’t be opposed to buying Jesse Luketa going over if I could get good odds. I think he’s going to end up a productive defensive end, though it remains to be seen just what his role will be.
Brandon Smith: 94.5 tackles
Chris: Over. Smith is moving closer to the ball, and is the most talented LB on the roster. This seems like the most sure thing to happen on this list.
Lando: Over. He’s an aggressive and super athletic tackler, guys.
Marty: I’ll go over. Smith is a freak and due for a major breakout season. That breakout season comes this fall for the next LBU star
Patrick: I like Brandon Smith a lot and think he’ll have a much stronger season, but I think the smart move is the under. To hit 95 tackles in 13 games, Smith would have to average 7.3 tackles per game. That’s only been done by Micah Parsons (2019) since the 2017 season.
Jaquan Brisker: 2.5 interceptions
Chris: Over. I’ll get a bit squirrelly here and say that for the first time in forever, PSU actually has a ball hawk at safety. I think Brisker can live up to his preseason All-American hype and give the Lions a very good secondary for once.
Lando: Over. I think Jaquan’s got 3, especially with his ability to catch, which hasn’t always been the case with Nittany Lion safeties.
Marty: Again going to go over. Would not be surprised to see Brisker end up as an All-American at safety. He is a ball hawking play maker that Penn State has not had at safety in a long time.
Patrick: Considering I made these bets and am a sucker, I can tell you this is the biggest sucker bet. Everyone immediately thinks “over” here which means it’ll go under. Vegas, baby.