Penn State vs. Michigan State Betting Odds
The 7-4 Nittany Lions will travel to East Lansing this week to take on the 9-2 Spartans. Unfortunately, this game has almost zero post-season implications.
However, the Land Grant Trophy, and the happiness of State fans from both states, are on the line Saturday.
It’s been an up-and-down year for Penn State. Meanwhile, Michigan State was dominating the competition and looked to be a CFP team following their win over Michigan. However, an upset loss to Purdue and a blowout by Ohio State changed Sparty’s narrative.
Both will look to end their seasons on a high note, hopefully picking up a better Bowl game in the process.
Penn State Nittany Lions Odds
Penn State’s season has been defined by a dominant pass defense.
The Nittany Lions have allowed just 200 passing yards per game this season while holding opposing quarterbacks to fewer touchdown passes than interceptions. Penn State ranks sixth in PFF’s coverage grades and eighth in Big Play prevention.
You can move the ball on the ground against Penn State, who have been more mediocre than stellar on that end.
Penn State’s offensive ground game, however, is horrific. The Nittany Lions rank among the bottom 10 teams in Rush Success Rate, offensive Line Yards, and are averaging only 3.2 yards per carry.
They’ve schemed away from the ground offensively, rushing at the 19th lowest rate in the country. But the offense is very one-dimensional, and it’s hurt them in the process.
The Penn State offense consists of chunk plays from Sean Clifford to Jahan Dotson, and that’s pretty much it. Clifford has thrown for 2500 yards this season, with 1050 of those going to Dotson.
It’s a high-variance offense that can boom or bust. Without a consistent way to put up points, that’s how you lose to Illinois.
Michigan State Spartans
The moment I’ve been waiting for all season: Michigan State finally got exposed last week.
The Spartans have won nine games but were out-gained in four of them – against Michigan, Indiana, Western Kentucky, and Nebraska. Their pass defense is incredibly fraudulent, and the ground game is entirely dependent upon Kenneth Walker.
Ohio State smashed Michigan State last week. CJ Stroud passed all over a secondary that ranks outside the top-80 in PFF’s coverage grades, and Kenneth Walker took his six carries for only 25 yards as the Sparty offensive line finally withered.
Michigan State had an unreal season, but there are too many holes in this team to consider them a real threat.
Prediction and Pick
My pick: Penn State -1.5 (-110 at FanDuel)
As mentioned earlier, I believe Michigan State is a fraudulent football team.
Their résumé is filled with fake box scores and underserving wins. The offense is rather one-dimensional, and I believe that Penn State’s offense can stop it.
Moreover, the Spartan pass defense is a total wreck. That plays right into Sean Clifford’s hands, as Penn State is going to drop back a ton and pass all over the Sparty defense.
Finally, sharp money has already hit the Penn State side, moving the line from a PK to PSU -1.5. I’ve seen projections that even make the spread closer to PSU -3, so I believe there’s still value at this number.
I’d even play Penn State up to -2.5.