Miami vs. Penn State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Nittany Lions Should Cruise Past Canes

Miami vs. Penn State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Nittany Lions Should Cruise Past Canes article feature image
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Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Dread.

  • Miami takes on Penn State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
  • The Hurricanes are coming back from the ESPN Events Invitational.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Miami vs. Penn State Odds

Wednesday, Dec. 1
9:15 p.m. ET
ESPNU
Miami Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+5.5
-110
138.5
-110o / -110u
+180
Penn State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-5.5
-110
138.5
-110o / -110u
-225
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Outside of a win over North Texas, it looks to be a rebuilding year for Jim Larranaga’s Miami Hurricanes. Their schedule does not get much easier now that they will head north to face Penn State.

The Nittany Lions are off to a similar start, beating Oregon State but dropping games to LSU and UMass.

Still, given the Nittany Lions’ ability to dictate the pace of play, hit shots inside and outside of the arc and perform much better on the defensive side of the ball, Penn State could be a decisive winner in this Big Ten/ACC Challenge duel.


Miami Hurricanes

Miami’s greatest attribute is that it can protect the ball. This will be the Hurricanes’ most distinguished advantage over the Nittany Lions, as Penn State has trouble forcing turnovers on defense. Still, this might be their only glaring advantage in this matchup.

On the other hand, the ‘Canes cannot hit a 3-point shot whatsoever. They are shooting 27.1% from downtown, and Charlie Moore is the only player on the team shooting over 30%.

If Miami trailing at all, it will be tough to make up the scoring margin. It does attempt plenty of free throws, so that’s its best shot to make up points against Penn State.

Another notable weakness for Miami is its lack of defense. The Hurricanes allow 42.0% of opponents’ 3-pointers to fall, which ranks 341st in all of college hoops.

It doesn’t stop there. According to KenPom, Miami ranks 320th in Effective Field Goal Percentage against. Seeing how the Nittany Lions can hit their outside shots and rank 60th in Effective Field Goal Percentage, this looks to be a defensive nightmare for the Hurricanes.

The power for Miami lies in the backcourt with Kameron McGusty, Isaiah Wong and Moore. These players can slash but thrive when their opponent sends them to the free throw line.

Penn State is about average on the defensive end with fouling its opponents. Seth Lundy and John Harrar have lead in their shoes sometimes, so this is one area the ‘Canes can exploit for quick scoring chances.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State, however, plays at a snail’s pace, holding the ball over 20 seconds per possession on average.

The Nittany Lions will take their time and perhaps take shots at the expiration of the shot clock. This is a killer for a team like Miami, which only has the ball for about 17 seconds per possession. If Penn State catches fire, Miami might panic to come back.

Next, Penn State is relatively solid on the offensive end. Sam Sessoms, Lundy, Myles Dread and Jalen Pickett are all outside scoring threats. Unlike Miami, the Nittany Lions do not draw too many fouls, so it could be an early trend. They will either sink their shots or they will not and that could indicate the trajectory of the rest of the ballgame.

Being able to knock down 3-pointers is an easy way to build a massive lead or make up for lost time, if Penn State is losing to Miami at some point.


Miami vs. Penn State Betting Pick

The Nittany Lions have a clear advantage on both sides of the ball. They can sink more 3s and manage the game at their own pace. Miami can only close in on Penn State if they get to the free throw line early and often. Otherwise, there is no reason Penn State should not cover their spread.

Take the Nittany Lions at -5.5 and play to -7. They could build an insurmountable lead if they sink their 3-point shots in the early going.

Pick: Penn State -5.5 (Play to -7)

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