Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Michigan State Odds & Pick 12/30/21

by | Dec 15, 2021 | cfb

Pittsburgh Panthers (11-2 SU, 10-3-0 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (10-2 SU, 8-2-2 ATS)

When: Thursday, Dec. 30th, 2021, 7:00 pm (ET)

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: PITT +1.5/MSU -1.5 (Opened at PITT -3.5 at GTBets - Bet your pick for free by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus up to $500! This book has an AWESOME rewards program too!)

Total: 60 (Opened at 63)

Money Line: PITT +105/MSU -120

Power Rating: MSU -2

Key Injuries

Pittsburgh Panthers: WR Taysir Mack *Questionable* (Arm), WR Jaylon Barden *Questionable* (Undisclosed)

Michigan State Spartans: RB Kenneth Walker *Questionable* (Ankle), G Matt Carrick *Questionable* (Undisclosed), DT Simeon Barrow *Questionable* (Undisclosed), OT Jarrett Horst *Questionable* (Illness), WR Jalen Nailor *Questionable* (Hand), WR Ian Stewart *Questionable* (Undisclosed), DE Jack Camper *Out* (Undisclosed), WR Ricky White *Out* (Personal), LB Carson Casteel *Out* (Leg)

Recent Form

The Pittsburgh Panthers ended their 2021 season with an 11-2. Pittsburgh ended the year on a 5-game winning streak, including their 45-21 win over Wake Forest to claim their first-ever ACC Championship. Pittsburgh is led by Heisman Finalist: Kenny Pickett, who finished in the top 5 QBs for yards and touchdowns. The Panthers offense ranks 5th in the country for yards with 502.9 YPG and has the 3rd best scoring offense with 43.0 points per game. Pittsburgh’s defense sits 41st in FBS with 349.2 YPG allowed and has the 43rd ranked scoring defense with 23.1 points allowed per game.

The Michigan State Spartans finished the season with a 10-2 record and 3rd in the Big 10 East. The team’s most notable win of the season came over Michigan in a 37-33 final, which boosted them to #3 in the college football rankings. Michigan State finished the year on a 2-2 run, suffering their first loss in an upset to Purdue 40-29. The Spartans had their playoff hopes taken away, getting blown out by Ohio State 56-7. The team is led by junior running back Kenneth Walker, who finished the year with over 1,700 scrimmage yards and will be a heavy favorite for the Heisman Trophy in his senior year. The Michigan State offense ranks 41st in the country with 430.9 yards per game and 39th in scoring with 31.9 points per game. Their defense sits outside the top 100, allowing 457.1 YPG and 61st in scoring, allowing 25.7 points per game.

Spartans Pass Defense

Though the Spartans are favored in this game, one downfall of theirs that may become a factor in this game is the sub-par passing defense. In fact, sub-par is putting it lightly, as Michigan State’s defense is the worst in the nation against the pass, allowing 337.7 yards per game through the air. In their second loss to Ohio State, who is also a top 10 passing team, QB C.J. Stroud rolled over the Spartans defense. Stroud threw for 432 yards and six touchdowns, all of which were in the first half. Michigan State faces a similar passing attack in the Peach Bowl, having to try and slow down Kenny Pickett. Kenny Pickett averaged 350.2 YPG passing this year and ranked inside of the top 10 with one of the country’s most efficient passing offenses. If Pickett surpasses the 350-yard mark in this game, he will set up the Panthers for an opportunity to keep this game close and complete the upset.

On the “Pickett” Fence

This game will rely heavily on the play of each team’s offensive all-stars, Kenny Pickett and Kenneth Walker. Pickett is healthy but has not declared yet that he will be active for the Peach Bowl. The senior quarterback has yet to decide if he will play due to declaring that he will be in the 2022 NFL draft and may sit to avoid any injuries that may hinder his draft stock. As for Kenneth Walker, who will be going into his senior year in 2022, he is dealing with an ankle injury that currently has his status as “questionable.” Without both players on the field, each offense would be a wild card with a backup quarterback and running back, taking their places. However, if one should take the field and the other not, we may see a change in the spread for this game.

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Pitt/MSU Bowl History

The Pittsburgh Panthers most recent bowl appearance was in 2019, where they beat Eastern Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl 34-30. Overall, Pittsburgh hasn’t fared well in recent bowl games, having a 1-4 record in their last five appearances, and going 1-4 ATS in those games. The Michigan State Spartans have seen better fortune in their recent bowl history. The Spartans are 3-2 in their last five appearances, including a win over Wake Forest in 2020 in the Pinstripe Bowl. The team has also fared well against the spread, going 6-1 ATS in their last seven bowl games.

The Historicals

In seven matchups between these teams, Michigan State is 6-0-1. The most recent matchup came back in 2007, where Michigan State won 17-14.

How the Public is Betting the Panthers vs. Spartans

53% are betting the Spartans against the spread.

57% are wagering on the game to go over the posted total of 60.

Betting Trends Worth Noting

  • The Pittsburgh Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games vs. teams with a winning record.
  • The Pittsburgh Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games as an underdog.
  • The Pittsburgh Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last five bowl games.
  • The Michigan State Spartans are 4-1-2 ATS in their last seven games as a favorite.
  • The Michigan State Spartans are 6-1 ATS in their last seven bowl games.
  • Over is 4-0 in the Panthers’ last four games.
  • Over is 5-2 in the Panthers’ last seven bowl games.
  • Over is 4-1 in the Spartans’ last five games.

Collin’s Spread Pick for the Peach Bowl

This year’s Peach Bowl features two teams who had admirable seasons. Looking at the spread for this game, I’m going to come at it from two different perspectives. If Kenny Pickett plays no matter what, take the Panthers to cover the 1.5-point spread. If he doesn’t play, but Kenneth Walker does, take the Spartans to cover the 1.5-point spread. Should neither player take the field, I’d consider leaning towards the over/under in this one as picking an outright winner with a tight spread of 1.5 points is tough without each team’s main offensive producer.

Collin’s Over/Under Pick for the Peach Bowl

With a point total of 60, I think the odds are expecting these two players to be on the field. If Pickett plays, take the over as the Spartans defense will be torn up by the Panthers’ air attack. If again, these two players are inactive, take the under as both offenses will have to lean on backups to carry the workload, leaving the opportunity for turnovers and empty drives early in the game. Note: Don’t forget to check out this week’s NFL predictions!

BIG AL's NCAA BOWL TOTAL OF THE YEAR (76-52)

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