The Penn State Nittany Lions will look finish the regular season strong when they visit Michigan State on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET).
As the betting money continues to pour in, the No. 12 Nittany Lions have pulled away as a heavy favorite over their Big Ten Conference rival. The Nittany Lions are -20 (-110) on the spread and -1350 on the moneyline, while the Spartans are +20 (-110) and +800 to win outright. The projected total is 42 (-110 Over, -110 Under).
In which direction should bettors lean? Read on as we break down both NCAAF teams and evaluate the Penn State vs MI State Betting Odds in our college football game preview.
Date/Time: Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field; Detroit
The Penn State Nittany Lions are 14-3-1 against the spread over their last 18 games, including 8-3 this NCAAF season. Their 72.7% cover rate is tied for the fourth highest in FBS. They’re also 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games as the favorite. Meanwhile, the Michigan State Spartans are 5-5-1 ATS. The total has gone Over in 14 of the last 20 matchups between these teams. That’s important to remember when assessing the Penn State vs MI State Betting Odds.
Allar Injured in Win
The Penn State Nittany Lions took care of business last week, beating Rutgers 27-6 to stay in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl. The Nittany Lions, ranked 11th in the AP Top 25 poll, now head into the regular season finale with a record of 9-2, including 6-2 in Big Ten Conference play.
With a victory over Michigan State, Penn State would top its projected total of 9.5.
A 19.5-point favorite against Rutgers, Penn State covered the spread for the second time in three games and is 8-3 ATS this season. It was the Nittany Lions’ 17th consecutive victory over Rutgers.
Quarterback Drew Allar completed 6 of 13 passes for 79 yards but was hurt early in the second half after taking a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit. He threw just one more pass then exited the game on the next play. Allar — who has thrown for 21 touchdowns and just one interception this season — did not return.
Head coach James Franklin also didn’t update Allar’s status following the game, muddying his availability for Friday. In Allar’s absence, freshman Beau Pribula attempted only one pass but ran for 71 yards and a touchdown. Be sure to check on their statuses when analyzing the Penn State vs MI State betting odds.
MSU Playing Out the String
The Michigan State Spartans took a slight step forward last week, rallying past Indiana 24-21. A 3.5-point underdog, Michigan State took the lead with 1:19 remaining when Katin Houser connected with Maliq Carr for a 36-yard touchdown catch.
The Spartans improved to 2-6 in Big Ten play and 4-7 overall, leaving them one win shy of their projected total of 4.5. Their only other conference win came Nov. 4 against Nebraska, 20-17. Regardless of what happens Friday, the Spartans will miss a bowl for the third time in four seasons.
Offense — or lack thereof — continues to be a problem for Michigan State. The Spartans rank 125th in FBS in scoring (17.4 PPG), second to last among Power Five schools. At that level, only Arizona State (17.3) has scored with less frequency.
For what it’s worth, Houser, a freshman, set season highs in both passing yards (245) and touchdowns (three) against Indiana. He was making his sixth start since replacing Noah Kim because of an undisclosed injury. Keep that in mind when making your NCAAF predictions.
Handicapping the Game
The Nittany Lions may no longer be on the NCAAF championship odds board, but they’re still markedly better than Michigan State. Their only two losses came against two of the best teams in the country in Ohio State and Michigan. A New Year’s Six bowl is still a definite possibility for Franklin and Co.
Will some bettors balk at the large spread? Sure. But keep in mind, Michigan State is just 2-6 against Big Ten opponents, with five of those losses coming by double digits. It’s also only 3-6 ATS as an underdog.
If Allar is healthy enough to play, the Nittany Lions shouldn’t have any issues winning comfortably.