Michigan vs. Penn State Odds & Pick: Will Wolverines Offense Finally Break Through?

Michigan vs. Penn State Odds & Pick: Will Wolverines Offense Finally Break Through? article feature image

Rick Ostentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ben Mason

Michigan vs. Penn State Odds

  • Odds: Penn State -7.5
  • Over/Under: 46.5
  • Moneyline: Penn State -350, Michigan +265
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: Fox Sports 1

UPDATED: Odds as of Saturday morning and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Penn State vs. Michigan, under the lights in State College. There are few better sights in college football.

The Nittany Lions will look to keep their undefeated season alive by taking on a Michigan team that they’ve had mixed results against over the last few seasons.

Two years ago, in almost the exact same spot (Penn State -9 in Happy Valley), the Nittany Lions rolled 42-13.

Will this Saturday be different? Here’s how our experts are betting it.

How Odds Moved for PSU-Michigan

This spread has jumped from -7.5 to -9 since opening, though it should be noted that that’s a pretty easy jump to make given the lack of key numbers. It would seem that oddsmakers are simply going where the money tells them to at this point, as 65% of bets and 58% of dollars have hit Penn State.

The total has risen from 45 to 47, which is a bit more interesting considering only 44% of tickets are on the over. Those tickets, though, have generated 65% of money, revealing the sportsbooks’ true liability as well as the opinions of bigger bettors. Danny Donahue

Stuckey: What I Make the PSU-Michigan Line

Let’s approach this using some quick and easy math.

Last week, Penn State closed -3.5 at Iowa, which would imply the market believed Penn State was about a touchdown better than the Hawkeyes on a neutral field.

I vehemently disagreed as I made the game close to a coin flip, and bet Iowa +4 earlier in the week since I had the Nittany Lions as only 3-4 points better than Iowa on a neutral field.

And while Penn State got a lucky cover, I didn’t change my opinion after seeing and analyzing that five-point victory. In fact, I actually downgraded Penn State a half point after it finished that game against Iowa with only 3.8 yards per play (while allowing Iowa to average 4.9).

So, what does that mean here? Well, it means that I still have Penn State only about a field goal better than Iowa.

And two weeks ago, Iowa played at Michigan, which closed as a 4-point home favorite, implying those two teams are close to even on a neutral field. I disagreed and played Michigan since I had the Wolverines closer to a field goal better on a neutral field.

So, what does this long ramble mean?

The market remains too high on Penn State after a lucky win at Iowa and some early blowout wins against a few bad teams.

This is what I currently have on a neutral field:

  • Penn State -3.5 vs. Iowa
  • Michigan -2 vs Iowa

Give or take a half point, the past two weeks basically confirmed my thoughts on each.

That obviously implies I have Penn State as only a couple points better than Michigan on a neutral field. Factor in one of the best home-field advantages in the country and this line should be around PSU -6, max -7.

It’s currently sitting at 9. that’s certainly tempting, but am I in a rush to bet this anemic Michigan offense against a great Penn State defense in a Happy Valley primetime whiteout? Not really.

But, if it gets to 10, that’s a different story and I will certainly side with the Wolverines and Jim Harbaugh — despite his lack of success in this spot (1-6 on the road against ranked opponents and 1-9 overall against the top 10). — Stuckey

Stuckey’s Pick: Michigan +10 or better

Wilson:  How Will Michigan Score?

This point spread is a little inflated compared to what our power ratings say. The question remains if the inflation is justified, and with James Franklin calling for a ‘seismic event’ whiteout, the home field may be bumped for this 7:30 p.m. ET kick.

Chaos has always been there for the Penn State defense, ranking third in the country in havoc and third overall in tackles for loss. The Michigan offensive line has had a marginal bump in havoc allowed, moving up to 55th in recent weeks.

Still, a Nittany Lions rank of third in opportunity and stuff rate dictates this Michigan rush attack will get nowhere on Saturday night. Shea Patterson may not have luck in the passing game, as Penn State is No. 5 in the nation in opponent passing success rate.

From a numbers perspective, it would not be shocking if Michigan scored a touchdown or less offensively.

The Wolverines have made defensive strides week to week, halting Iowa in numerous drives into Michigan territory.

Through two weeks of play Michigan had a defensive havoc rate of 120th. That number has increased to 44th. Still, there is nothing to write home about in the success rate or explosiveness of either offense in this game.

The difference may be who is better at finishing drives, and from that perspective it is all Penn State. The Nittany Lions are No. 7 in red zone scoring percentage offensively, while the defense is 15th in red zone points allowed.

Penn State holds most of its opponents to field goals when there have been scores, and Michigan is a team that fits that mold. The Wolverines are 103rd in red zone points per attempt, with a touchdown scoring percentage rank of 89th. Ultimately, the limited number of scoring chances upon each team’s tendencies will be the difference in this game.

Although the point spread is a bit higher than projections, Penn State is the side to back. Whether it is Penn State live under a touchdown, the full game -9 or a Michigan team total under, the bet is dependent on the Nittany Lions top ranked havoc defense and opponent passing success rate along with Michigan’s inability to maximize points in opponent territory. Collin Wilson

Collin’s Pick: Penn State -9

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