Outback Bowl odds shifting in favor of Arkansas

A handful of bowl games have been scratched entirely or could be on the brink of being canceled, but all systems appear to be good to go for this week’s Outback Bowl matchup between Penn State and Arkansas. The teams have both arrived in Tampa and are beginning their final days of preparation for one final game. And after opening as a favorite in the game, Penn State remains the favorite in the Outback Bowl according to the latest odds from Tipico. But the spread has shrunk since opening.

Penn State opened as a 2.5-point favorite on Tipico when the bowl matchup was first confirmed, but the line has shrunk down to 1.5-points in favor of the Nittany Lions.

Since the line opening on the Outback Bowl, Penn State has lost its two leading tacklers and starting linebackers. Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks each announced they were opting out of the bowl game to begin focusing on their NFL future. Those absences leave a big question for Penn State’s defense. Arkansas is also without its leading receiver,

Penn State was 5-3 against the spread this season as a favorite, and 6-2 striaght-up as a favorite. As an underdog this season, Arkansas was 2-3 overall but 4-1 against the spread as an underdog. In a neutral-site bowl game like this, however, a 2.5-point spread may as well be a toss-up.

This is the smallest underdog point spread Arkansas has had placed on them all season. As a 4.5-point underdog against Texas A&M in late September, the Razorbacks upset the Aggies 20-10. As a 5.0-point underdog against Ole Miss, Arkansas fell one-point shy in an SEC shootout, 52-51.

This is also Penn State’s smallest point-spread advantage this season, but small lines haven’t exactly gone as planned. Penn State did cover a 4.0-point spread earlier in the season at home against Auburn (28-20), but they lost on the road as a 3.5-point…

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