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Penn State at Michigan State Picks, Predictions & Betting Preview

Jordan Horrobin for Bookies.com

Jordan Horrobin  | 5 mins

Penn State at Michigan State Picks, Predictions & Betting Preview

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What a difference a week has made for Michigan State. Entering their game against Ohio State, the Spartans had a genuine chance at breaking into the College Football Playoff. Now, after a blowout loss, they're playing for little more than pride and a chance at a New Year’s Six bowl.

Michigan State closes its regular season at home against Penn State on Saturday (noon ET kickoff), looking to polish off a perfect 6-0 home record this season.

The Nittany Lions are coming off a shutout win over lowly Rutgers, but that showed enough for sportsbooks to give them even college football oddson the road. Check out our preview and college football picks for this matchup.

Odds are current as of publication. betting sites may indicate odds changes closer to kickoff.

5 Keys to Michigan State vs Penn State

Home, sweet home: Surrounded by Spartan green, Michigan State has excelled this season. The Spartans are 5-0 on home turf, with a 3-0-2 record against the spread. Yes, they needed overtime to beat Nebraska as three-point favorites, but they also took down Michigan as four-point underdogs. The home cookin’ has been greatly enjoyed.

Where’s the (passing) defense?: Stopping schools through the air hasn’t been Michigan State’s specialty all year, but last week’s 56-7 loss to Ohio State was the Spartans’ worst showing yet. Michigan State allowed six passing touchdowns on 449 yards, bringing their average up to 340.3 passing yards allowed per game.

Not the worst 2-4 stretch: Penn State torpedoed its playoff chances weeks ago, but its 2-4 slide in the back end of the season isn’t as bad as it looks. Three of the losses came by four points or fewer (plus a nine-point loss at Ohio State), which equates to a plus-27 point differential.

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Going for three: A win Saturday would mark Penn State’s third in a row against Michigan State, all with quarterback Sean Clifford under center. Clifford, a senior, threw for two scores and rushed for another in last season’s 39-24 Penn State victory.

Senior Day at Spartan Stadium: Among the seniors that Michigan State will salute on Saturday, perhaps the most notable is safety Xavier Henderson. He leads the team in total tackles (89) and tackles for loss (10). Transfer running back Kenneth Walker III is only a junior, but his 1,600 scrimmage yards and 18 touchdowns this season will likely vault him to next spring’s NFL draft.

Michigan State vs. Penn State Weather Forecast

Saturday afternoon in East Lansing, Michigan, will feature a mix of sun and clouds, temperatures rising to the mid-30s and a 30% chance of precipitation.

Michigan State vs Penn State Moneyline

The fall has been hard and fast for Michigan State, a team once positioned in a College Football Playoff spot. But given that the Spartans entered the year with 4.5 expected wins, they’ve well exceeded the public’s expectation.

With that said, the fun is largely over in Spartan land. Penn State can hurt teams with its passing attack, and that’s exactly where Michigan State is typically hurt the most. Plus, despite more losses over the past month and a half, the Nittany Lions have looked at least as strong in that span.

Our college football betting instinct lies with Penn State.

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Michigan State vs Penn State Point Spread

In a fairly uncommon scenario, the point spread and moneyline odds for this game are the same. So, our insight from the moneyline section applies here as well.

If you’re interested in teasing the spread at all, it’s advisable to not go further than two or three points in Penn State’s favor. Both teams have covered in seven of 11 games this year.

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Michigan State vs Penn State Totals

Since the beginning of October, the only Penn State game to clear 51.5 points (which is the current point total on betting apps for this game) came when the Nittany Lions faced Ohio State’s top-ranked offense.

Nine of 11 Nittany Lions’ games have hit the under this season, and we expect them to make it an even 10 on Saturday.

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About the Author

Jordan Horrobin for Bookies.com
Jordan Horrobin
Jordan Horrobin has created sports betting content since 2019, covering everything from the NFL to KBO. Based in Toronto, he has written for MLB.com, The Athletic and Sportsnet.