Outback Bowl expert predictions, odds, betting trends for Arkansas vs. Penn State

This year, there may not have been a more dangerous five-loss team than Penn State. The Nittany Lions were a preseason top-25 team and started 5-0 before losing five of seven games to close the year. But let’s take a closer look here, shall we? PSU lost by a combined 16 points to Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State, while its other two losses came with Sean Clifford sidelined for half of one game and playing injured in the other. Clifford threw 20 touchdown passes to six interceptions, with only half of those turnovers coming in losses. The Nittany Lions were also among the best defensive teams in football. They allowed the seventh-fewest points per game and have the No. 2 red-zone defense. That unit will be without defensive coordinator Brent Pry – he took the Virginia Tech head coaching job – as well as NFL draft opt-outs Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks. Penn State is still favored.

As for Arkansas, give Sam Pittman a ton of credit. The Razorbacks were pegged for a 12th-place finish in the SEC before they won eight games and placed third in their division. The offense took a big step forward in K.J. Jefferson’s first year under center as he ended the regular season with 26 total touchdowns (five rushing) to three interceptions. Jefferson’s dual-threat capability added another presence to an already deep backfield of Trelon Smith, Raheim Sanders and Dominique Johnson while his arm helped Treylon Burks secure his first 1,000-yard season. Burks opted out of this game, which gives us a potential first look at Jefferson’s next go-to target.

This game is on Saturday, Jan. 1, with a noon ET kickoff time on ESPN2. Odds, Over/Under, Moneyline

Odds updated at 1 p.m. ET on Dec. 25. Click here for live odds. Betting Trends

Arkansas is 4-1 ATS as underdogs in its last 5 games

Arkansas is 4-26 as underdogs in its last 30 games

Penn State is 8-3 ATS as favorites in its last 11 games

The Over is 1-5 in the last 6 Penn State games

Click here to learn more about The Athletic’s FREE betting contest with BetPrep. Arkansas-Penn State storylines

Penn State bowl media day takeaways: Mike Yurcich accepts blame, Manny Diaz’s arrival, Brandon Smith going pro, more

Penn State gives Manny Diaz a fresh start: What will the former Miami coach bring to the Nittany Lions? Expert picks (straight up)

(Photo of Noah Cain: Rich Graessle / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)

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