The No. 5 Michigan State Spartans host the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday, November 28 in the Big Ten finale for both teams. The Spartans have won each of their last two meetings with the Nittany Lions, including a 34-10 road victory last year as 13-point favorites.
Michigan State (10-1, 6-1 Big Ten) pulled off the huge 17-14 upset at Ohio State last week to put itself in position to win the Big Ten East division. It even did so without starting quarterback Connor Cook. The offense managed 203 rushing yards, but it was the defense that won this game for them, limiting the Buckeyes to just 132 total yards.
Penn State (7-4, 4-3 Big Ten) is coming off a 16-28 home loss to the Michigan Wolverines. The Nittany Lions had their chances late but had to settle for a couple short field goals of 18 and 24 yards instead of punching it in for touchdowns. They only managed 207 total yards in the loss.
Kickoff inside Spartan Stadium is scheduled for 3:30 EST Saturday afternoon with ESPN providing the television coverage. If you are looking to wager on this game, you’ll find Michigan State as an 11-point favorite over Penn State with a total set of 46.5 points.
The Spartans are way overvalued now after upsetting the Ohio State Buckeyes last week. Sure, they have a lot to play for as a win will get them into the Big Ten Championship Game, but that’s also a lot of pressure on them. I don’t believe they should be double-digit favorites over a Penn State squad that is more than capable of hanging with the Spartans for four quarters in this one.
This line indicates the Connor Cook is going to be playing Saturday even though he’s listed as questionable. He actually missed the Ohio State game with a shoulder injury, which makes the Spartans’ upset that much more impressive. But that game went exactly the way the Spartans needed it to for them to pull the upset.
Indeed, the Spartans made a conscious effort to control the football with their running game, and they did just that by holding onto the ball for a whopping 38 minutes, 10 seconds. They won in spite of awful QB play from backups O’Connor and Terry, who combined for 8 of 16 passing for 91 yards and a touchdown. Whether or not Cook plays, this offense is so limited that it’s going to be hard to put away the Nittany Lions by double-digits.
Penn State comes in undervalued due to failing to cover the spread in four of their last five games overall. They had their chances against Michigan last week, but had to settle for two short field goals of 18 and 24 yards in the 4th quarter, which was the difference in a 16-28 loss.
While the Nittany Lions haven’t been great offensively, they do have a defense that keeps them in ball games. In fact, they have the better defense in this one. They give up 18.6 points, 315.1 yards per game and 4.6 per play against opposing offenses that average 27.9 points, 379 yards per game and 5.5 per play.
Home-field advantage has meant very little in this series. Indeed, the road team is 3-0 straight up in the last three meetings. Also, the road team has only lost by more than 4 points once in the last seven meetings.
Home-field advantage has meant very little in this series. Indeed, the road team is 3-0 straight up in the last three meetings. Also, the road team has only lost by more than 4 points once in the last seven meetings. James Franklin is 7-0 ATS off two or more consecutive ATS losses in all games he has coached.
Plays against favorites of 10.5 to 21 points (MICHIGAN ST) – hot team, after having won 8 or more out of their last 10 games, a top-level team (winning at least 80%) playing a good team (60% to 80%) are 55-23 (70.5%) ATS since 1992. Penn State is 17-6 ATS in its last 23 games after failing to cover the spread in five or six of its last seven games coming in.