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Penn State vs. Michigan Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Wednesday, Jan. 4)

Penn State vs. Michigan Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Wednesday, Jan. 4) article feature image
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Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Dickinson (Michigan)

  • After crushing Maryland this past weekend, Michigan hosts Penn State in a Big Ten duel on Wednesday.
  • The Nittany Lions have an advantage in terms of experience over the Wolverines.
  • Will that be used to their advantage in this one? Or is there another bet to target?

Penn State vs. Michigan Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 4
7 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Penn State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+4
-110
141.5
-110o / -110u
+155
Michigan Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-4
-110
141.5
-110o / -110u
-180
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Penn State Nittany Lions seem to be surging at the moment as they meet the Michigan Wolverines, who, for a while, were tumbling as quickly as any power-conference team in the country.

The Wolverines ended up beating Maryland in a 35-point route on Saturday after dropping games to North Carolina and Central Michigan.

Meanwhile, Penn State has taken down both Iowa and Illinois in Big Ten play.

It’s hard to gauge how Michigan will look down the stretch because it’s been lost in games since point guard Jaelin Llewellyn went down with an ACL injury.

Penn State is truly an all 3-point offense — aside from Jalen Pickett — so it can cool off at times, as well.

However, even though neither of these teams play exceptional defense, they can defend the other’s strengths.

Look for this game to go under the total.


Penn State Nittany Lions

The above statement was not a lie. The Nittany Lions live and die by the 3-ball. They shoot it well, though, at 38.8%. They also shoot well inside at 53.5% and hit 77.9% of their free-throw attempts.

That said, 43.4% of their points have come from deep this season, with only 44% on 2s and 12.6% from the strike. Much of their 2-point production has come from Pickett, who is the only Nittany Lion with 65+ 2-point attempts this season. He’s shooting 55% on 2s.

This will come into play in this matchup because although Michigan’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency ranks 73rd (per KenPom), it’s holding opponents to a somewhat reasonable 47.5% on 2-pointers and 31.6% from downtown.

Hunter Dickinson and Jett Howard can contest the inside — standing at 7-feet and 6-foot-8, respectively — so this will eliminate opportunities for Pickett on the interior.

They’re not necessarily the best defenders, but they both have a 3%+ block rate.

Photo by CBB Analytics

Now, inexperience has ruined opponents of the Nittany Lions. For example, Penn State torched a raw Illinois team relatively easily on the road.

Howard, Dug McDaniel and Kobe Bufkin are all underclassmen for Michigan. Meanwhile, the entire Penn State starting lineup consists of seniors, so this will likely provide the Nittany Lions a little boost offensively.

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Michigan Wolverines

Neither of these teams are particularly strong on the glass. Michigan ranks 296th in offensive rebounding percentage while the Nittany Lions rank 360th. This means that neither will be given second scoring chances on offense.

This is always conducive to an under, or it will at least help.

Building off of that, Michigan is one of the most disciplined teams in the country when it comes to taking care of the basketball. The Wolverines only turn the ball over at a 13.6% clip, ranking second in the NCAA.

The only team better than them is the Nittany Lions at 12.9%.

Defensively, Michigan ranks 275th in turnover percentage and Penn State ranks 337th. This means that each team will be able to run their offense as they see fit. Neither will get out in transition and push the pace.

Lastly, Michigan ranks 114th in Adjusted Tempo (KenPom), but it forces opponents to use up 17.6 seconds per possession on defense. Penn State ranks 276th in Adjusted Tempo and utilizes 17.8 seconds per possession on average offensively.

Essentially, the Nittany Lions will be permitted to take their time. They also force opponents to occupy nearly 18 seconds per possession on defense, so this game should be played more so at Penn State’s typical pace.


Penn State vs. Michigan Betting Pick

Again, neither team will blow an opponent away with defensive tenacity. However, Penn State should slow the game to its speed, and Michigan has the defenders inside to stop Pickett’s game.

The Wolverines should also be able to limit the rain of 3s from the Nittany Lions. Since neither turns the ball over or forces turnovers on defense, the game will be played in half-court offensive sets, instead of in transition.

Take this under from 139.5 (-110), and play it to 137.5 (-110).

Pick: Under 139.5 (Play to 137.5)

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