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Spartans Look To Rebound Against Nittany Lions

Michigan State (9-2 SU, 7-3-1 ATS) saw its Big Ten title hopes end last week with a demoralizing loss to Ohio State, but the team still has plenty to play for. The Spartans try to bounce back when they host Penn State (7-4, 7-4), which has won the last two meetings by a combined margin of 36 points.

Penn State Nittany Lions vs Michigan State Spartans
  • Date/Time: November 27, 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Spartan Stadium
  • TV Coverage: ABC
  • Opening Odds: Penn State -1 | O/U 51.5 (Line History)
  • Penn State vs Michigan State Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

Michigan State’s ugly loss last week caused oddsmakers to open the Spartans as short home underdogs, but bettors have been more forgiving. The Spartans had been bet up to 1.5-point favorites at some sites by the time of writing, and it won’t be a surprise to see the line move more toward Michigan State as kickoff approaches.

Penn State News & Notes

The Nittany Lions are coming off one of their best offensive performances of the season — and it wasn’t led by veteran quarterback Sean Clifford. Freshman Christian Veilleux lit up Rutgers for three touchdowns in his first collegiate action as Penn State scored 28 points for just the second time in its last seven games.

Clifford was one of many Penn State players hit hard by the flu before last week’s game, forcing him to leave the contest early after completing just two of his first eight passes. Not only is Clifford expected to be back under center this week, but the short outing may actually have helped him heal up a few bumps and bruises that have been ailing him all season.

The Lions defense also stepped up their game last week in Clifford’s absence, limiting Rutgers to 165 total yards and allowing the Scarlet Knights to cross midfield only once. Penn State has now gone UNDER the total in five straight games overall and in 12 of its last 14 on the road.

Michigan State News & Notes

Days after rumors broke that coach Mel Tucker was on the verge of signing a $95-million contract, the Spartans got a harsh reminder of their place in the Big Ten hierarchy with a humiliating 56-7 loss at Ohio State. The final score was actually flattering to Michigan State, which allowed the Buckeyes to score touchdowns on each of their first seven possessions and take a 49-0 lead into the half.

The Spartans had allowed the most passing yards in the nation going into that contest, and those stats didn’t get any prettier after Michigan State’s secondary was gutted for 432 yards and six touchdowns through the air. “We got blasted. We were not able to eliminate the explosive plays on defense,” Tucker told the Associated Press.

Tucker should also be concerned with the offense, particularly star running back Kenneth Walker III. Hampered by an injured ankle, Walker carried the ball just six times against the Buckeyes for 25 yards, his fewest of the season.

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How Penn State Will Cover

The Lions defense has allowed the fourth-fewest points per game in the country and can frustrate a Michigan State attack that could be lacking confidence following last week’s performance.

How Michigan State Will Cover

As crushing as their loss to Ohio State was, the Spartans should be extremely motivated to bounce back with a strong performance and prove that their 9-2 SU record is no fluke. With a 10th victory, Michigan State could earn a spot in one of the New Year’s Six bowl games.

Computer Pick: Michigan State -1

Bowl season is right around the corner but in the meantime you can check out our College Football Computer Picks page for all your NCAAF predictions for Week 13.

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Shark Bites
  • Penn State is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 road games.
  • Michigan State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 home games.
  • The OVER is 17-5 in the last 22 meetings.