Penn State vs. Michigan Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Nittany Lions in Saturday Big Ten Action

Penn State vs. Michigan Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Nittany Lions in Saturday Big Ten Action article feature image
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Corey Perrine/Getty Images. Pictured: Cade McNamara (left).

  • Two Big Ten strugglers look to right their 2020 ships as Penn State travels to Ann Arbor.
  • Michigan made a QB change last week that led to a triple-overtime victory.
  • Matt Wispe explains why he's backing the underdog Nittany Lions.

Penn State vs. Michigan Odds

Penn State Odds -1 [BET NOW]
Michigan Odds +1 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -114 / -106 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 56.5 [BET NOW]
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV ABC
Odds updated Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

This game is the matchup of arguably the two biggest disappointments in the conference. But this game represents a decent opportunity for Penn State to find some success on offense that should lead to its first cover of the year. Michigan is coming off a triple-overtime win and hopes to add to the Nittany Lions’ misery.

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Penn State Nittany Lions

Basically everything has gone wrong for head coach James Franklin’s team this season. Penn State enters this game coming off of its worst loss of the season against Iowa. The Nittany Lions are 0-5 against the spread (ATS) this season and have failed to cover by an average of 16.5 points per game.

After fighting to get football back, Penn State entered a shortened season with playoff expectations, and a fluky loss to Indiana ended the Nittany Lions in a hurry. But now, his team is 0-5 despite remaining inside the top 30 of SP+.

On offense, Penn State is one of just five teams to average at least 80 offensive plays per game, and it averages 24.17 seconds per play.

Will Levis and Sean Clifford split reps under center against Iowa. The two combined for 7.4 yards per passing attempt.  Clifford’s turnover issues continued with two interceptions, bringing his season total to eight. For the year, the Penn State offense has a 44.3% Passing Success Rate.

The combination of Caziah Holmes, Keyvone Lee and Devyn Ford, along with the two QBs, have helped the Nittany Lions to a Rushing Success Rate of 42%. And despite the line providing an average of 3.09 yards per attempt, they’ve been stuffed on 21% of plays and hold a Power Success Rate of 48%.

The defense ranks 30th in defensive SP+ and boasts an Overall Success Rate of 42%. The biggest concern with Penn State’s defense is allowing opponents to finish drives and not creating Havoc. The defensive line has limited success with only 2.55 Line Yards allowed per play.

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Michigan Wolverines

Things appear to be heading south in Ann Arbor for head coach Jim Harbaugh. Expectations were high following Michigan’s win over Minnesota in the Big Ten’s opening week, but it’s come to the point where the Wolverines are happy to escape Rutgers with an overtime win.

The Wolverines are now 1-4 ATS for the year and have failed to cover by an average of 12 points per game.

Michigan owns a Success Rate of 41% and is averaging 30.6 points per game.

Joe Milton was benched against Rutgers and replaced with Cade McNamara, which is when things dramatically improved. McNamara completed 75% of his passes for an average of 7.2 yards per attempt. For the year, Michigan has a Passing Success Rate of 42.5% and has averaged 4.8 passes over 20 yards per game.

Hassan Haskins, Blake Corum and Zach Charbonnet lead the team in rushing attempts.  The trio has averaged 5.2 yards per attempt for seven touchdowns.  However, Michigan’s Rushing Success Rate sits at just 38.9%, and it has been stuffed on 23.7% of attempts while the offensive line generates 2.6 Line Yards per attempt.

The Michigan defense ranks 38th in defensive SP+ and allows a 41.6% Success Rate. The biggest problem with the Wolverines’ defense has been its inability to get its opponent off of the field. Michigan allows 4.58 points per opportunity and generates Havoc on just 10.9% of plays, which ranks fifth-worst in the FBS.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Michigan’s defense appears to be a red flag, and its offense — while above average — shouldn’t raise any significant concerns for Penn State backers.  The only real question in this game is motivation for the Nittany Lions, but from a numbers perspective, they still appear to be a decent team despite their 0-5 record.

The Action Network tool suite strongly prefers Penn State in this game. According to the PRO Report, both big money and sharp money have come in on the Nittany Lions, which has contributed to the line dropping from +4. Our PRO Projections model made Penn State a 1.3-point favorite.

For all of those reasons, I’m taking Penn State to cover +2.5 and would take it as low as +1.

Pick: Penn State +2.5 down to +1.

[Bet Penn State now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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