Penn State vs. Michigan State College Basketball Odds & Pick: Nittany Lions Should Be Favored in East Lansing (February 9)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Dread and John Harrar.
- The Michigan State Spartans host the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday night in East Lansing.
- While both teams are middle-of-the-pack in the Big Ten, the Spartans continue to struggle while the Nittany Lions have played well of late.
- While the Spartans are home favorites, the Nittany Lions perhaps should be favored in a key Big Ten battle.
Penn State vs. Michigan State Odds
|+125 / -155|
Penn State travels to Lansing on Tuesday for a battle with Michigan State.
It’s been a difficult season for Penn State, which currently finds itself with a 7-8 record. However, the Nittany Lions have won four of their last six games in Big Ten play, including a win over Maryland last weekend.
Penn State can likely afford only one more loss if it wants to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament, so Tuesday’s matchup is vitally important for the Nittany Lions.
It’s been a disaster of a season for Tom Izzo and the Spartans. Michigan State is currently 3-7 in Big Ten play, with two of those wins coming against last-place Nebraska.
The Spartans are in desperate need of a quality win to turn their season around, so Tuesday could be a perfect opportunity.
When Penn State has the ball
The Nittany Lions have somewhat struggled on offense as of late, failing to average more than 1.00 points per possession in their last two games against Maryland and Wisconsin. However, despite those two bad performances, Penn State still ranks in the top 25 in terms of offensive efficiency, per KenPom.
Early in the season, the Nittany Lions were living and dying by the 3-point shot. However, they’ve focused more on going to the basket of late, which will come in handy against a Michigan State team that struggles desperately to defend inside the 3-point arc.
The Spartans are allowing better than 50% from two-point range and better than 58% on shot attempts at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
Where Penn State truly excels is on the offensive glass.
The Nittany Lions own the best offensive rebound rate in the Big Ten at more than 33%. Michigan State struggles to keep opponents off the offensive glass, ranking ninth in the Big Ten, so Penn State should have plenty of second-chance opportunities.
When Michigan State has the ball
Boy, oh boy, the Spartans have been terrible on the offensive end of the floor in Big Ten play. Izzo’s squad is averaging only 0.94 points per possession and have only broken the 1.00 points per possession mark three times in their last 10 games. The main problem is it can’t hang onto the ball and shoots poorly from the field.
Michigan State has the highest turnover rate in the Big Ten at more than 19%, which is one of the main reasons it only has three conference wins under its belt.
That’s going to be a major problem against Penn State, which has the second-highest turnover rate in the conference.
The Spartans are also are the worst shooting team in the Big Ten, as they have the worst effective field goal percentage and are shooting a dismal 43.8% from 2-point range.
Things don’t get any better when they step outside the arc, as they’re shooting barely 30% from deep.
Penn State’s defense hasn’t been anything special, allowing 1.07 points per possession, but even the Nittany Lions should be able to shut down the Spartans.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think Penn State is the better team in this game, as Michigan State has shown no consistency on the offensive end of the floor. The Nittany Lions should find a way to force a ton of turnovers and pour in a lot of second-chance points on offense.
I have Penn State projected as a -0.89 favorite on the road, so I think there is some value on the Nittany Lions at +2.5.
Pick: Penn State +2.5 (down to +1.5).