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

Nov. 27, 2021
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert

A Big 10 battle on Saturday afternoon sees the reeling Michigan State Spartans hosting the Penn State Nittany Lions. Opening kick is set for 3:30 p.m. and will air on ABC from Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan.

Score Prediction

Penn State 24, Michigan State 20

Best Bets

Penn State -2

Under 52

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans Predictions

We have seen a lot of blowouts in the last 10 games between the Penn State Nittany Lions and Michigan State Spartans. Seven of the last 10 meetings between these Big Ten rivals have been decided by 15 points or more. This year’s game should buck the trend though as neither one of these teams is good enough on offense to pour it on their opponent.

James Franklin and Mel Tucker were two of the hottest names in the coaching world this cycle. Franklin and Tucker were linked to high profile openings at USC and LSU, but both coaches signed big, long-term extensions to stay with their current teams. Neither team can make it to the Big Ten Championship Game, so this will be the last game before bowl season for both programs.

The under is the best bet in this game considering what we have seen from these offenses. Michigan State has the better record, but the Spartans were exposed last week by Ohio State.

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Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds

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Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, November 27, 2021
  • Venue: Spartan Stadium
  • Location: East Lansing, Michigan
  • TV-Time: ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET

Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 7-4
  • ATS: 7-4
  • O/U: 2-9
  • ATS - Home: 4-3
  • ATS - Away: 3-1

Penn State has an elite receiver in Jahan Dotson, and a very good receiver in Parker Washington. Dotson has 83 receptions for 1,045 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Washington has 53 catches for 662 yards and three scores. The only other real target in the passing game is Keandre Lambert-Smith.

The ground game has not been good for the Nittany Lions. They are averaging just 3.3 YPC and 113.5 YPG on the ground as a team. Keyvone Lee has been the most effective running back, averaging 4.7 YPC, but he had just 13 carries for 41 yards last week against Rutgers.

This is one of the best defenses in the nation. Penn State is ranked 5th in Defensive SP+, and the Nittany Lions rank third in scoring defense (15.4 PPG). They are allowing just 4.4 yards per play, and the secondary has been outstanding (5.6 YPA).

Michigan State Spartans Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 9-2
  • ATS: 7-3-1
  • O/U: 6-5
  • ATS - Home: 3-1-1
  • ATS - Away: 4-2

The Spartans were fortunate to be 9-1 heading into last week’s game with Ohio State. Michigan State has been good this year, but the Spartans haven’t been great and rank outside of the top 25 in SP+.

Payton Thorne has been one of the more effective quarterbacks in the Big Ten, but he has completed just 60.5% of his passes. Thorne is averaging 8.5 YPA with 22 touchdowns and eight interceptions, yet six of those picks have come in his last five games. He was very ineffective against Ohio State last week, completing 14 of 36 passes for 158 yards with a touchdown.

Kenneth Walker III was a Heisman Trophy contender earlier this month. He is one of the best running backs in the country, running for 1,498 yards (6.4 YPC) with 17 touchdowns. Michigan State has two elite receivers in Jayden Reed and Jalen Nailor too.

Michigan State has given up more yards than any other team in the nation to quarterbacks. The Spartans are allowing 360.6 YPG through the air, and they rank 118th in total defense as a result. This front seven is solid, but the secondary has some issues.

Penn State has gone UNDER the point total in nine of its last 11 games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Penn State Nittany Lions

  • Record: 7-4
  • VI Ranking: 26
  • Points Scored: 288
  • Points Allowed: 171
  • PS/G: 26.2 (81st)
  • PA/G: 15.5 (4th)

Inside the Stats - Michigan State Spartans

  • Record: 9-2
  • VI Ranking: 11
  • Points Scored: 353
  • Points Allowed: 281
  • PS/G: 32.1 (42nd)
  • PA/G: 25.5 (63rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • PSU: Christian Veilleux - QB (15/24, 235 yards, 3 TD)
  • PSU: Jahan Dotson - WR (83 catches, 1,045 yards, 10 TD)
  • MSU: Kenneth Walker III - RB (234 carries, 1,508 yards, 17 TD)
  • MSU: Payton Thorne - QB (187/309, 2,618 yards, 22 TD, 8 INT)

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Conclusion

The under is the best bet in this game, and Penn State is the side to take considering the strength of the defense. The Nittany Lions are ranked 22 spots higher than the Spartans in SP+, so jump on them as less than a field goal favorite.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Trends

  • Penn State has covered the spread in 11 of its last 15 games.
  • Penn State has covered the spread in five of its last six road games.
  • Michigan State has won five straight home games
  • Michigan State has gone OVER the point total in six of its last seven games.