Penn State vs. Michigan State kicks off Friday (11/24/23) at 7:30 p.m. EST in East Lansing, Michigan as a home game for the Spartans. Get Penn State vs. Michigan State predictions and best bets below. Our best bet is on Michigan State team total under 10.5 as points should come at a premium against the elite Penn State defense.
Penn State vs. Michigan State Prediction
It was a disappointing year for both squads heading into this contest as Penn State failed to make it to the Big Ten championship while Michigan State will miss out on a bowl game. The Spartans come into this one as a massive underdog, most likely ending their year at 4-8 and heading into the offseason with more questions than answers.
While the Spartans defense managed to turn it around and play at a league average rate, their offense never figured it out. Even amidst a quarterback change halfway into the year, the Spartans offensive metrics still remained putrid as Katin Houser mirrored the same level of production as his predecessor Noah Kim. As a whole, Michigan State ranks 116th in Success Rate, 115th in Explosiveness, 121st in Points per Opportunity and 104th in Havoc.
That spells potential doom against a Penn State defense that ranks first in overall Def Success Rate, 10th in Points per Opportunity and second in Havoc. The first overall in Success Rate is especially vital as that shows Michigan State will have a hard time cutting the distance to gain on early downs and being forced to convert third downs at a longer distance. That will most likely lead to stalled drives, giving Penn State the ball and wasting more time off the clock.
It’s not as if Michigan State’s metrics suffer from just one area of the offense. They do nothing right in either facets of offense. Their rush and pass metrics are well below average. They can’t even capitalize on Penn State’s lack of Def Explosiveness with the Nittany Lions ranking 82nd in Def Pass Explosiveness and 56th in Def Rush Explosiveness. The Spartans check in at 107th in Pass Explosiveness and 121st in Rush Explosiveness, making it a wash at best.
For Michigan State’s low team total over, bettors can rest assured that fluke defensive scores will be nullified by Drew Allar’s elite ability of taking care of the ball. He has only thrown one interception this season, leading Penn State to a sixth-ranked Havoc Allowed metric. The Nittany Lions also run the ball at the 31st heaviest rate in the nation, continuously bleeding time off the clock with this year’s clock rules and making small gains at a time against a weak Spartan’s front seven.
Penn State vs. Michigan State Prediction: Penn State Team Total Under 10.5
Penn State vs. Michigan State Best Odds
Oddsmakers originally had this as a much tighter contest in the lookahead line, originally pegging Penn State as a -13 favorite. Since then, Penn State has climbed up to as high as -21, with some shops breaking through the key number and sitting at -21.5. The Nittany Lions have massive advantages on both sides of the ball with their defense in a position to dominate.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a slow pace by opening the number at 42.5. Bettors believe points will come at a slightly faster pace, backing the over up to the current total of 43. The over movement seems a bit odd as Michigan State is in a position to put up a goose egg, yet Penn State may be able to clear the over themselves.
Penn State vs. Michigan State Key Matchups
Can Penn State’s secondary shut down Katin Houser?
Katin Houser vs. Penn State Secondary
Katin Houser has struggled since getting the starting nod, throwing for an abysmal 1,011 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. His inability to stretch the field will play right into the Nittany Lions hands as they excel at limiting Success Rate.
VIDEO: Michigan State QB Katin Houser threw a touchdown strike on the Spartans’ opening drive
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 14, 2023
Especially through the air, ranking second in Def Pass Success Rate and eighth in Def Pass PPA. That is a sharp contrast from Michigan State’s passing metrics as the Spartans rank 126th in Pass Success Rate and 132nd in Pass PPA. Factor in the Nittany Lions elite edge rushers and Havoc may come into play at a routine rate as Houser will throw into tight passing lanes while under pressure.