Penn State Nittany Lions vs No. 12 Michigan State Spartans Predictions, Odds, Picks

  • When Penn State has the ball – What will the rushing attack look like?
  • When Michigan State has the ball — Who is going to step up in the passing game?
  • X-factors to watch

Penn State vs Michigan State Odds

Odds presented by: DraftKings Sportsbook

Team Spread Money Line Total
Penn State Nittany Lions -2 (-110)
O 52 (-110)
Michigan State Spartans +2 (-110)
U 52 (-110)

Penn State vs Michigan State Prediction and Picks

This is the battle of the two coaches who just got PAID in all capital letters. Early in the week, Penn State inked head coach James Franklin to a 10-year $75-million extension, only for Michigan State to follow suit by throwing $95 million over 10 years at Mel Tucker, making him the second-highest-paid coach in all of college football, just a shade behind Alabama’s Nick Saban, who has seven national titles. Either way, there’s going to be an over-reaction to this game because one person who just got big money is going to follow it with a loss. Had this been a month ago we’d take MSU but the Spartans are so banged up we have to take Penn State Moneyline.

Penn State to Win (-125)

Garcia’s 2021 record: (21-20)

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Penn State vs Michigan State Trends to Watch

  • Nittany Lions are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 road games
  • Nittany Lions are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite
  • Nittany Lions are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 conference games
  • Nittany Lions are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games overall.
  • Under is 5-0 in Nittany Lions last 5 games overall
  • Under is 6-1 in Nittany Lions last 7 road games
  • Under is 20-8-1 in Nittany Lions last 29 conference games
  • Over is 8-3 in the last 11 head-to-head meetings
  • Favorite is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 head-to-head meetings
  • Spartans are 3-0-2 ATS in their last 5 home games
  • Spartans are 7-2-2 ATS in their last 11 games overall
  • Spartans are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 conference games
  • Spartans are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games in November
  • Over is 4-0 in Spartans last 4 games on grass
  • Over is 6-1 in Spartans last 7 home games
  • Over is 6-2 in Spartans last 8 vs. a team with a winning record
  • Over is 19-9 in Spartans last 28 games as a home underdog

Penn State Offense Never Got Going

Penn State’s season could have been different had it been able to find a consistent rushing attack.

That’s not something you can say early on, or even halfway through the season, but now that it’s the final week of the year, that’s a fair assessment — it was this team’s Achilles heel. Penn State averages just one touchdown and 111 yards per game on the season, both which rank near the bottom of the league.

Will it bite them against the Spartans? Not if James Franklin has a brain. MSU has the worst passing defense in the Big Ten — and quite possibly the country — so if Penn State knows what’s best, it will be a steady diet of passing.

That’s something the Nittany Lions are comfortable with behind quarterback Sean Clifford. The senior is 224-of-362 (61.9 percent) passing with 17 touchdowns, six interceptions has thrown for 2,599 yards on the season and hasn’t been intercepted in the month of November.

There’s no way Jahan Dotson isn’t licking his chops. Ohio State had three (THREE!) receivers go over 100 yards AND score a touchdown last week. That’s absolutely insane.

Purdue’s David Bell had 11 catches for 217 yards and a score against this same defense a few weeks ago — that’s equally insane.

It’s hard to imagine Dotson having fewer than 150 yards and at least touchdowns in this one.

Can Walker Do It One Last Time?

Kenneth Walker III should win the Doak Walker award. He was the best running back in college football this season — and quite frankly it wasn’t all that close.

The transfer from Wake Forest has rushed 233 times for 1,498 yards (6.4 yards per attempt) and 17 touchdowns.

His Heisman campaign has likely ended after rushing just six times last week — but in the three weeks prior he had tallied an insane 476 yards and eight touchdowns, so don;’t think he can’t still rip off monster games.

The problem is, not only is he dealing with an ankle injury, but the team around him is decimated.

The Spartans are likely missing their top two wide receivers in Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor, both of whom will likely garner All-Conference honors. That’s no to mention Michigan State has been without its starting left tackle for a few weeks, so this offense is a far cry from when it was at its peak a month-or-so ago.

X-Factors to Watch

For Michigan State, the x-factor has to be whoever will step up for Michigan State. One option is Tre Mosley, who has eight catches for more than 130 yards and two scores across the last three weeks, but instead we’re going to look at a senior.

Connor Hayward, who has gone from running back to tight end/h-back hybrid and become a leader of the team. Don’t be surprised if he finds the end zone.

For Penn State, it’s Parker Washington. MSU is going to have to pay all of its attention to Dotson, which will continue to open things up for Washington. Don’t be surprised if the sophomore has a big day.

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How to Watch Penn State vs Michigan State

Penn State vs Michigan Information
Teams Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 12 Michigan State Spartans
Location Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan
Time Saturday, Nov. 27, 3:30 p.m. EST
How to watch ABC

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Tony Garcia

Expert on Baseball

Tony writes about baseball for after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.