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Sportsbooks aren't showing much faith in 2021 Penn State, Pitt football teams

ADAM BITTNER
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Penn State head coach James Franklin leads his team onto the field for an NCAA college football game against Pittsburgh in State College, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

Spring practice did not give sportsbooks much confidence that Pitt or Penn State will make too much noise in 2021.

As Memorial Day approaches, markets broadly expect both Pat Narducci's Panthers and James Franklin's Nittany Lions to finish below the double-digit win threshold and struggle to compete for their conference crowns. So now might be the time to place a futures bet if you're more hopeful for the coming season.

DraftKings Sportsbook recently released its win total markets and they're somewhat bearish on Pitt, projecting the team for just seven wins. Currently, the under is the favored play with -125 odds compared to +100 for the over.

In the ACC Coastal division, North Carolina is projected to pace the field with a total of 10 wins. Miami's total has been set at 9.5 and Virginia Tech is also at 7. Division title odds mimic that pattern with the Tar Heels and Hurricanes as the co-favorites at +125, followed by the Hokies (+650) and Panthers (+900.)

Clemson is the unanimous favorite among sportsbooks for the conference overall. It's odds are -835 at DraftKings, while Pitt is the 10th favorite at +5000. FanDuel, meanwhile, is offering an even more favorable price at +8000.

Penn State is currently projected for nine wins by DraftKings after a 4-5 campaign in 2020. As with Pitt, the under is currently the favored play at identical -125 odds, with the over also priced at +100.

The Nittany Lions are tied with Michigan as the second favorite in the Big Ten East division at +450. Ohio State leads the way at -250. Overall conference odds mirror those division odds with the Buckeyes as the favorite at -125, while Penn State and Michigan are both long shots at +700. FanDuel offers Penn State at a better price of +900.

Sportsbooks have also released some early lines on key games for both teams.

At DraftKings, Pitt is an 18.5-point underdog for its Oct. 23 matchup with Clemson as well as a 6.5-point underdog for its Veterans Day tilt with North Carolina. FanDuel has the Clemson line one point lower at 17.5.

Penn State, meanwhile, is available in a lot more markets. Among the highlights, via DraftKings:

►The Nittany Lions are 3.5-point underdogs for their Sept. 3 season opener at Wisconsin

►7.5-point favorites for their home tilts with Auburn ( Sept. 18) and Michigan ( Nov. 13), though BetMGM has the Auburn line much lower at -4.

►10.5-point underdogs for their trip to Ohio State on Oct. 30. FanDuel is currently at +11.5 and BetMGM at +12.5.

On the national championship odds front, both teams are a ways down the list. DraftKings currently has Penn State at just the 17th favorite at +8000. Pitt, meanwhile, is toward the bottom at +50000. Those are the best prices for both teams among the major legal online books, with Penn State listed as low as +4000 and Pitt as low as +10000 elsewhere.