Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan Wolverines Pick
Penn State Nittany Lions (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS)
When: Saturday, November 3rd, 2018 – 3:45 ET
Where: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
TV: B1G Network on ESPN
Point Spread: PSU +10 / MICH -10
Poll Rankings: Penn State (13) / Michigan (5)
Takeaways From Week 9
The Nittany Lions have re-asserted their name into the B1G conference discussion with a 30-24 win last week over a No. 19 ranked Iowa team in Happy Valley. PSU was on upset alert by many as a surging Iowa team seemed to be on a mission to make a name for itself in the conference race after suffering a sole heart-breaking defeat at home against Wisconsin earlier this season. PSU had undergone similar circumstances in both their losses as they led significantly at home against both Ohio State and Michigan State before they relinquished the game in the final stages of the fourth quarter.
After losing their opening game of the campaign in South Bend against a now undefeated and No. 3 ranked Notre Dame, the stock on the Wolverines continues to rise with every win it picks up. Michigan has now won seven straight, and their latest victory is perhaps their most comprehensive of the season when they marched into enemy territory and defeated rival Michigan State 21-7. The same Michigan State team that beat Penn State in its own barn.
How the Public is Betting the Penn State-Michigan Game
At the moment, 64% of the consensus like Penn State here as the underdog taking back a double-digit allotment points against the Maize and Blue in The Big House. As a result, we have seen the market fall by half of a point to reflect this current trend. However, when we see a team become a public dog in such capacity, a red flag should be raised as perhaps the favorite may actually be undervalued. Penn State was on the other side of the coin last week when Iowa was the apple of the betting public’s eye as a 6.5-point dog closing as a four-point underdog thanks to heavy steamrolling in on the Hawkeyes. Penn State, however, would win and cover as an effect.
Last year, Penn State blew the doors of Michigan in Happy Valley when they smoked the Wolverines 42-13. Previous to this, Michigan had won three straight against their conference rivals covering in all three occasions while they did so. As a whole, this is a series of streaks. Previous to the Michigan win streak, Penn State had won four in a row.
Penn State Quarterback Trace McSorley sports a questionable tag in the build-up to this contest on Saturday after sustaining a lower-body injury. McSorley is the engine of the Penn State offense, and if he were not to be able to suit up, Penn State’s offense would assuredly be in disarray against a Michigan defense that ranks among the best in the country.
When Michigan Has the Ball
Michigan by no means will dazzle you with their offense. This is an old-school, smash-mouth football team that likes to run the ball and plays physical defense. Fortunately for the Maize and Blue, their rushing attack yields 212.8 yards on the ground per game (33rd nationally) while also scoring a 27th-ranked 33 points per game. The focal point of Michigan? Their defense which is the best in the land in total defense (220 yards per game) and passing defense (122.9 yards per game). This team is stingy in every sense of the word.
When Penn State Has the Ball
The critical question is whether or not Michigan will see Trace McSorley on the field for this game or not. Assuming McSorley rides out the injury and takes the field in what is essentially an elimination game for Penn State from conference contention, the Nittany Lions have the ability to light up the scoreboard as they average 41 points per game (11th nationally). McSorley is a home run hitter and thus loves throwing the ball downfield to his playmakers K.J Hamler, Juwan Johnson, and DeAndre Thompkins. Plus, he has emerging talent Miles Sanders coming out of the backfield.
Two betting trends support the value being with Michigan in this spot. First off, the Home Team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings. Secondly, the Favorite is 4-0 ATS in the previous meetings. For Over enthusiasts, the Over is 5-1 ATS in the last six contests between these two combatants.
The weather can get a bit salty in Michigan this time of year, and thus the forecast has temperatures falling as low as below-freezing for the time of kick-off. Fortunately, it is not expected to be a windy day in Ann Arbor with only a 36% chance of precipitation. It appears that the weather will be shaping up to be frigid and blustery which of course favors the defensive side of things with balls being harder to catch in the cold.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Michigan -10
With McSorley remaining an uncertainty combined with Penn State playing this one in hostile temperatures and a very intimidating environment, Michigan is set to compete on its own terms. Even with a fully-equipped Penn State, Michigan is the better team in terms of quality. While Penn State is 6-2 on the year, they could have easily been a .500 football team if last-moment theatrics did not work against upset-minded Appalachian State or had Indiana made just a few more critical plays to pull the upset in Bloomington. This is a Penn State football team that gave up 554 yards to said Indiana, imagine what Michigan can do with an effective yet heavy dose of the run combined with a crippling defense that will force Penn State to lose in the possession game. Contrary to popular belief, this one could get ugly quick. Have some BitCoin kicking around? Set up a betting account in minutes and start betting at one of researched top sportsbooks for bettors using BitCoin.