NCAAB Michigan State Vs. Penn State Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/7/22)

We are about one third of the way into the season and Michigan State has already had a roller coaster of a start. They went from narrowly losing to Gonzaga by one, to following it up with wins against Kentucky and Villanova. After that? Two embarrassing losses to Notre Dame and Northwestern. Can the hobbled Spartans bounce back? Let’s find out.

Michigan State Vs. Penn State Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as Michigan State opened as +4 underdogs to the rapid firing Nittany Lions. Bettors are in slight agreement as they have backed Penn State by taking them up to +4.5. This is influenced by recent play as Michigan State has looked like a shell of themselves while battling through injuries. With an anemic offense, they may not be able to keep scoring pace with Penn State.

As for the total, points are expected to come at a premium as oddsmakers set this at 134.5 with bettors hitting the over up to as high as 136.5. While falling apart on offense, the Spartans still play good on ball defense and will have to limit the Nittany Lions three-point barrage should they want to avoid losing a third in a row.

Michigan State Vs. Penn State Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Under 136.5

With Malik Hall still out and this MSU offense looking like a shell of its former self without him, I will put a small piece on the under as they will struggle to do their part towards the total. Even with Jaden Akins back, he has yet to round back into form and the team has suffered tremendously without both players’ production. 

As for the defense, their identity has remained the same and that is to limit opposing perimeter play. That bodes well in this matchup as Penn State shoots the three at a top-10 rate with no intentions of slowing down anytime soon. Michigan State has held opposing three point shooting to 32.3%, well below league average.

This bodes well for our under ticket as limiting the Nittany Lions three point success negates their scoring opportunities. They do not rebound well at all, stopping any second chance opportunities and allowing their possessions to run long and stall out. Penn State is one of the slowest tempos in basketball, good for 295th in AdjT per Kenpom.

The Spartans run at a snail’s pace as well and excel at crashing the boards. Michigan State currently ranks 289th in AdjT per Kenpom. If Mady Sissoko can avoid foul trouble as the lone big man down low then he should have no issue cleaning up the boards on the defensive end.

As for Michigan State’s scoring contribution to the total, that is where the absence of Malik Hall especially hurts them as he was their third leading scorer. Averaging 12.0 points per game with low post production and a big body down low, this has allowed opposing defenses to stretch out a bit more and negate the Spartans guard play.

Michigan State Vs. Penn State Key Matchups

Can Penn State take advantage of Michigan State’s size disadvantage? 

Mady Sissoko vs Penn State bigs

Without Malik Hall, Michigan State now solely relies on the big man production of Mady Sissoko. Sissoko burst onto the scene with a dominant two game stretch against Gonzaga and Kentucky, proving he can bang around with the elite big man class.

His down low production is now more important than ever in this game as he will be the lone big man down low. Joey Hauser is another tall body, but he plays more of a stretch four and will creep out more towards the perimeter and top of the key. 

Lucky for Sissoko, Penn State’s offense mainly revolves around perimeter shooting. This type of play brings less opportunity for him to rack up fouls as he may have to be an ironman in this one. They will need every ounce of rebounding success they can get as the Nittany Lions do not rebound well. But without Sissoko, this opens the opportunity for them to crash the boards and give them more opportunities to rain down a scoring pace that the Spartans cannot keep up with.

Verdict

With MSU being able to cover the Nittany Lions from deep and give them limited second chance opportunities, I will take the under. Both play at a snail’s pace and Michigan State lacks scoring without the presence of Malik Hall, giving me even more confidence that this under hits.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

Hot College Basketball Stories