Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 13, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

A Big Ten battle sees the Michigan Wolverines head to University Park to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions. Kick off is set for 12:00 p.m. ET and will air on ABC from Beaver Stadium.

Score Prediction

Penn State 23, Michigan 20

Best Bet


Penn State ML

Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Predictions

There was a lot of consternation about the College Football Playoff Selection Committee’s decision to rank Michigan ahead of Michigan State on Tuesday. The Spartans beat the Wolverines in East Lansing a few weeks ago, but the committee placed Michigan one spot ahead of Michigan State. Michigan could fall out of the top ten entirely next week though, as the Penn State Nittany Lions stand a great chance of knocking off the Wolverines in Happy Valley.

The Nittany Lions have knocked off the Wolverines in back-to-back seasons. Michigan has had a hard time scoring against Penn State’s defense, and that should be the case again this Saturday. Penn State has the seventh ranked defense in the country per Defensive SP+, and that combined with a raucous home crowd will help the Nittany Lions pull off the upset.

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Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Odds

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Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, November 13, 2021
  • Venue: Beaver Stadium
  • Location: University Park, Pennsylvania
  • TV-Time: ABC - 12:00 p.m. ET

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Michigan Wolverines Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-1
  • ATS: 7-2
  • O/U: 4-5
  • ATS - Home: 5-1
  • ATS - Away: 2-1

The Wolverines have one of the best ground games in college football. Michigan is averaging 5.3 YPC and 234.1 YPG, ranking in the top five in rushing offense.

Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum are both on pace to run for over 1,000 yards. Haskins is averaging 5.0 YPC with 11 touchdowns, while Corum is averaging 6.0 YPC with 10 touchdowns. This offensive line has done a superb job blocking for them, and they have allowed just six quarterback sacks on the season too.

Cade McNamara hasn’t done much in the passing game, but he hasn’t needed to this season. He is averaging less than 23 attempts per game, completing 62.5% of his passes for 8.0 YPA with nine touchdowns and two interceptions. McNamara had a great game in the loss to the Spartans, but he has only thrown for more than 200 yards twice this year.

Michigan’s defense ranks eighth in Defensive SP+. The Wolverines are sixth in total defense (297.4 YPG) and scoring defense (16.0 PPG). New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has been a spark since replacing Don Brown, imbuing this unit with new philosophies brought from the Baltimore Ravens.

Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-3
  • ATS: 6-3
  • O/U: 2-7
  • ATS - Home: 3-2
  • ATS - Away: 2-1

This offense hasn’t been great, but Penn State isn’t as turnover prone as it was last season. Sean Clifford is having a nice year, completing 64% of his passes for 7.6 YPA with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions. He has some ability to make things happen with his feet too.

Penn State has one of the best receiving corps in the Big Ten. Jahan Dotson leads the team with 71 receptions for 932 yards and nine touchdowns, and he should earn all-conference accolades. Parker Washington had 100 receiving yards against Ohio State, and Keandre Lambert-Smith has taken on more of a role in this offense.

The Nittany Lions have had a hard time running the ball once again though. Noah Cain and John Lovett are averaging a little over 3.0 YPC as two of the three leading rushers on the team, and Keyvone Lee’s numbers were inflated with nice games against Ball State, Indiana, and Maryland.

Fortunately, this defense is one of the best in college football. Penn State is surrendering just 16.6 PPG and 4.6 yards per play, ranking in the top ten in both categories. Jaquan Brisker is a superb safety that could be a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Michigan has covered the spread in four of its last five road games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Michigan Wolverines

  • Record: 8-1
  • VI Ranking: 10
  • Points Scored: 326
  • Points Allowed: 144
  • PS/G: 36.2 (20th)
  • PA/G: 16 (7th)

Inside the Stats - Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Record: 6-3
  • VI Ranking: 27
  • Points Scored: 243
  • Points Allowed: 150
  • PS/G: 27 (78th)
  • PA/G: 16.7 (10th)

Key Players to Watch

  • MICH: Cade McNamara - QB (130/208, 1,666 yards, 9 TD, 2 INT)
  • MICH: Hassan Haskins - RB (165 carries, 829 yards, 11 TD)
  • PSU: Sean Clifford - QB (199/311, 2,371 yards, 16 TD, 6 INT)
  • PSU: Jahan Dotson - WR (71 catches, 932 yards, 9 TD)

Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Conclusion

The under is a great play in this game considering the quality of both defenses. These offenses aren’t very creative, so it should be a low-scoring affair. Penn State is a nice pick for the side though as a short underdog at home.

Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Trends

  • Michigan has covered the spread in five of its last seven games when facing Penn State.
  • Penn State has won five of its last six home games when facing Michigan.
  • Michigan has gone OVER the point total in five straight road games.