The money should be coming in strong at PA online sportsbooks ahead of tonight’s nationally televised primetime tilt between Michigan and Penn State. Can the oft-criticized Wolverines silence the doubters with what would be a key upset road win (or at least cover the spread), or will Penn State keep its perfect season alive and perhaps grab yet another cover in the process? Let’s run through the best odds, promo offers, and top odds boosts before pivoting to some picks and predictions in our full Penn State vs. Michigan betting preview.
My guess is that if you’re a fan of either Penn State or Michigan, you have probably heard this week that Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has been absolutely B.R.U.T.A.L. against Top 25 opponents since taking over at his alma mater prior to the 2015 season.
Harbaugh was supposed to wash away the disappointment of the Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke eras, while restoring Michigan to its place among college football’s elite programs. That hasn’t happened to this point as the Wolverines prepare for No. 7 Penn State with an almost unthinkable 1-9 record against Top 10 teams under Harbaugh. They will need to reverse that trend starting tonight in order to stay alive in the Big Ten East race and ultimately have a chance to meet the considerable expectations that were placed upon them prior to the season.
The Penn State defense is second in the country in sacks, has allowed only five touchdowns in 82 drives, and has limited Big Ten opponents to 1.2 yards per carry over its first three conference games. Despite owning a 3-1 record head-up against Penn State since Harbaugh took over, Michigan is up against it tonight as a big underdog in what will be an electric atmosphere at Beaver Stadium. Keep in mind this will be a “White Out” game.
— Bryce Zielinski (@zbryce21) October 19, 2019
It’s worth noting that Penn State obliterated Michigan two years ago, 42-13, the last time these two teams played in one of these “White Out” games.
How to Bet on Penn State vs. Michigan
There are plenty of odds boosts and excellent promos available for this game. Before we get into those, as always, we encourage bettors to shop around and take advantage of the market’s best deals.
There are plenty of excellent offers tailored for this game. FOX Bet leads the way by offering Penn State at even odds. That’s right–you can wipe away the monster point spread in this one and simply grab the Nittany Lions to win outright at a +100 price. This promo offers significant value given the Nittany Lions are currently priced at -333 on the moneyline, giving Penn State a 76.9% implied win probability.
Penn State (-9.5) is also part of Colin Cowherd’s Marquee 3 bet boost this week, along with Washington (+3) and Florida (-5). Grab all three to win at a boosted +650 payout.
FanDuel Sportsbook is offering Close Loss Insurance on Penn State vs. Michigan in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Losing moneyline bets will be refunded if your team goes down by six points or less.
If you’re in New Jersey, Borgata Sports is offering a wild 100/1 payout on Penn State to score a touchdown tonight. Risk $1 and they’ll hit you with $100 if Penn State finds the end zone at any point. Given the Nittany Lions have scored 34.6 points per game this season, this seems like a solid bet.
How to Watch Penn State vs. Michigan
- Date: Saturday, October 19
- Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
- Location: Beaver Stadium (University Park, PA)
- Network: ABC
- Announcers: Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) and Maria Taylor (sideline)
Penn State vs. Michigan Weather
You can play matchups, historical trends, and follow your gut all you want, but placing a bet on an outdoor game without checking the weather report is just irresponsible, so let’s do that right now.
Good conditions are expected tonight as temperatures at kickoff will be in the low 50s under mostly cloudy skies and will dip into the upper 40s by the fourth quarter. No precipitation and minimal winds are expected.
Penn State vs. Michigan Odds
We have some shrinkage here this morning–line shrinkage, that is. Penn State was holding firm as a nine-point favorite throughout much of the week, but late money on the Wolverines has dropped this spread by more than a point by early this morning.
Here are the current Penn State-Michigan betting odds at some of the top legal online sportsbooks as of 11:00 a.m. Saturday:
|Michigan||+7.5 (-110)||+260||O 46.5 (-110)|
|Penn State||-7.5 (-110)||-333||U 46.5 (-110)|
|Michigan||+7.5 (-110)||+245||O 46 (-110)|
|Penn State||-7.5 (-110)||-315||U 46 (-110)|
|Michigan||+7.5(-105)||+245||O 46.5 (-105)|
|Penn State||-7.5 (-115)||-320||U 46.5 (-115)|
Let’s see how the implied probability of FOX Bet’s moneyline odds stack up against ESPN’s FPI model.
Projection models sometimes skew data and aren’t always accurate predictors of an event’s outcome, but it’s worth a look at how the implied probability of sportsbook odds compare to a second source in order to see if there’s any betting value on the board.
ESPN’s FPI model gives Penn State a 78.8% win probability against Michigan, while the implied probability of the -333 moneyline price on Penn State at FOX Bet carries a 76.9% win probability.
In relation to Penn State’s FPI win probability, there’s some ever so slight betting value on a Penn State moneyline play.
As for Michigan, there’s no value on the Wolverines at +260 moneyline odds when stacked against FPI.
Penn State vs. Michigan Betting Trends
Note: All historical trends date back to the start of the 2005 season unless otherwise noted.
Why Backing Penn State is a Good Bet
Penn State is Great Late
Penn State has excelled in night games under James Franklin, particularly at home. The Nittany Lions are 14-4 ATS under Franklin in games that begin after 7 p.m., including a perfect 9-0 ATS at home. Penn State is also 8-2 ATS in night games as a favorite under Franklin.
Penn State has dominated at home recently during the month of October with a 9-2-1 ATS record over its last 12 games played during the month.
Home is Where the Covers Are
The Nittany Lions are 23-14-2 ATS at home under Franklin. They are 3-1 ATS at home when favored between 7-10 points and are 14-8-1 ATS at home in conference games.
Rising to the Competition
Penn State is 18-6-2 ATS in its last 26 contests against teams with a winning record.
Michigan blasted Penn State by a 42-7 margin last season, setting up a revenge spot tonight. As you can probably imagine, teams don’t often lose by 35+ points and then come back as a big favorite the next season. In the limited instances in which this has occurred, Big Ten teams in this specific revenge scenario typically cover.
Big Ten teams that lost by 35 points or more against conference foe that are then favored by 7.5 or more in the following meeting are 4-1 ATS.
Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan teams are 7-13-1 ATS on the road and 1-4 ATS as a road underdog.
Michigan is 1-4 ATS over its last five trips to Beaver Stadium.
Jim Harbaugh’s Struggles
As noted above, Harbaugh’s Michigan teams are 1-9 straight up against Top 10 teams. They’re also 2-5 ATS against ranked opponents on the road and 7-11-1 ATS in Big Ten games.
Finally, Michigan hasn’t covered as an underdog of four points or more under Jim Harbaugh. Ever.
Why Backing Michigan is a Good Bet
Michigan has a formidable defense, and as we saw last week, Penn State’s offense can struggle to put together drives. Plus, Michigan has won three of the past four meetings between these two teams and this is a sizable spread.
Here’s something else to consider. Teams ranked anywhere between Nos. 1-9 that are favored by 8.5-10 points at home in conference games are only 9-18 ATS and 4-7 ATS when the opponent is ranked between Nos. 10-20.
Obviously, the line has shrunk in recent days, so it will need to tick back up a point for the above trend to apply.
Where’s the Action Going?
A late-week surge on Michigan has pushed this spread down from Penn State -9 to Penn State -7.5. Now, some money is coming back in on Penn State.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday morning, 66% of spread bets and 61% of the spread handle at reporting markets back Penn State, while 35% of total bets and 46% of the money is on the over.
Penn State vs. Michigan Prediction
Tough, tough game. My initial reaction was to simply grab the points because Michigan’s defense should be able to reasonably limit Penn State’s explosive but erratic offense, but can the Wolverines do enough offensively in a hostile environment against one of the country’s top defenses? There’s not much evidence that suggests they can, particularly after they produced only 24 combined points conference games against Wisconsin and Iowa earlier this season.
That leaves the old go with your gut vs. follow the information dilemma. As much as I want to grab Michigan, I’m going to rely on the following:
- Michigan’s miserable track record against ranked opponents under Harbaugh.
- Michigan’s miserable track record both on the road and as a road underdog under Harbaugh.
- Penn State’s excellent track record both at home and in night games under Franklin.
- Penn State’s outstanding defense.
My advice? Take the FOX Bet offer on Penn State to win the game.
Prediction: Penn State (-7.5) over Michigan