Michigan State vs. Penn State NCAAF Week 13 Top Picks: Nittany Lions Looking to Avenge Last Year’s Loss

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Theo Johnson #84 of the Penn State Nittany Lions celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Scott Taetsch/Getty Images/AFP.

Penn State is seeking revenge for last year’s loss to the Spartans while putting a bow on a successful season.

Let’s review the NCAAF odds and analyze this matchup as we look to keep cashing our college football picks!

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Michigan State Spartans vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Saturday, November 26, 2022 – 04:00 PM EST at Beaver Stadium

Ups and Downs for Spartans

The Spartans (5-6 SU, 4-7 ATS) were on a bit of a roll after shocking Illinois, 23-15, as 16 ½ -point road dogs before getting past Rutgers, 27-21, but failing to cash as 10-point home favorites.

However, things changed last week as Michigan State entered last week’s matchup against Indiana as 12 ½ point home chalk but reverted to their previous form when they lost four straight earlier in the season. When the smoke cleared, the Hoosiers brought the pain and a 39-31 double overtime victory against the Spartans.

What made the loss even more painful was the 17-point lead MSU held midway through the third quarter. The loss will also eliminate the Spartans from any bowl aspirations unless they can beat Penn State this Saturday.

Indiana would go on to score 25 unanswered points but perhaps the most stunning part of Michigan State’s loss was that their defense held Indiana to just 31 passing yards! It was the Hoosier’s rushing attack that trampled the Spartans' run-stop unit with 257 yards and four touchdowns.

As for the Michigan State offense, Payton Thorne passed for 298 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception while running backs Jalen Berger and Elijah Collins combined for 226 of the Spartans’ 242 rushing yards with the latter finding the end zone on two occasions.

Nittany Lions Rolling to 10-Win Season

Penn State (9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS) is exactly where they should be as the No. 11 team in the nation. They beat the teams they should have beaten and have gotten outclassed by the truly elite.

The Lions’ only two defeats came courtesy of No. 3 Michigan (41-17) and No. 2 Ohio State (44-31) but the rest of the season was smooth sailing as Penn State took care of the rest of their unranked season slate.

Over their last three games, the Lions have outscored their opposition, 130-24, with wins and ATS covers over Indiana, Maryland, and Rutgers.

Last week, it was a dominating 55-10 thrashing of Rutgers in hostile territory that signaled Penn State is flexing for a big-time bowl even if their CFP aspirations have been dashed for a while.

Total Trends

  • Under is 6-1 in the Spartans’ last 7 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • Under is 4-1 in the Spartans’ last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Under is 4-1 in the Spartans’ last 5 road games.
  • Under is 7-0 in the Nittany Lions’ last 7 home games vs. a team with a losing road record.

Michigan State vs. Penn State: Game Prediction

Michigan State Is Not That Bad

Penn State would like to punctuate their season with a big win over a conference foe but the point spreads I am seeing make it a bit difficult to lay that kind of lumber against a team that barely missed covering against the Buckeyes and Wolverines.

Penn State is a step down in class from those squads yet I see the line is as high as 18 ½ points. The Spartans don’t really get blown out very often and conference rivalries are always a different breed of cat from out-of-conference matchups.

I also believe this could be a bit of a letdown game for the Lions as they will be looking ahead to meeting a highly-ranked opponent in whatever major bowl decides to extend an invitation. We should also be cognizant that Penn State is 0-5 against the number in their last five home games versus a team with a losing road record.

Rushing Attack Is Key

Lastly, Penn State will look to exploit a mismatch between their 46th-ranked rushing attack against Michigan State’s 100th-ranked run-stop unit.

Why pass when you can run at will? And that’s a good thing for those who are backing a double-digit underdog, especially one like the Spartans that have a decent passing game, averaging 241 yards per game, against a good but not great Lions’ pass defense, surrendering over 210 yards per contest.

In other words, while Penn State chews up real estate they will also be burning time on the clock. The longer those Lions’ drives are, the better off we are as Michigan State has the ability to move the chains and get on the scoreboard via the pass.

The Picks

This game looks like a relatively low-scoring affair with the Spartans losing the game but getting the cover at the available Michigan betting sites.

Score Prediction: Penn State 31 – Michigan State 17

NCAAF Pick: Michigan State +18 ½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Michigan State +18 ½ (-108)
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NCAAF Pick: Under 53 (-112) at Bookmaker (visit our Bookmaker Review)

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Under 53 (-112)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.