Penn State continues to roll after knocking off ranked conference opponents in consecutive weeks, but James Franklin’s squad will have to stay sharp on Saturday against a Michigan State team that has given them fits in recent seasons. Will Penn State stay perfect and grab a cover in the process at PA online sportsbooks, or will Michigan State cover and potentially crush the Nittany Lions’ championship dreams at Spartan Stadium on Saturday afternoon? Let’s get into what to expect with our Penn State vs. Michigan State betting preview.
Note: As of Saturday morning, Penn State is now a 5-point favorite. The total is set between 42.5 and 43 at most legal online sportsbooks.
At first glance, it may seem Penn State enters this game with a favorable set of circumstances give its elite defensive unit is going up against a frequently inept Michigan State offense that has produced a combined 17 points in its three losses this season. Spartans quarterback Brian Lewerke was downright miserable in a 38-0 loss at Wisconsin two weeks ago, completing only 7 of 16 pass attempts for 53 yards.
Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions are firing on all cylinders, grinding out a win over Iowa on the road two weeks ago powered by its defense and then followed that performance by outlasting Michigan on the strength of some explosive offensive plays produced by the passing game.
And yet…if you’re a Penn State supporter, you can’t possibly feel overly confident about this contest. Michigan State has won five of the last six meetings in this series, including each of the last two seasons as a substantial underdog. Two seasons ago in East Lansing, Michigan State walked off then No. 7 Penn State with a 34-yard field goal, scoring an upset as a 9.5-point underdog.
The Nittany Lions are thought to be the superior team on both sides of the football once again this year, but these two teams have been down this same road before, and it has been the Spartans who have come out on top. It’s going to require next-level focus and motivation for Penn State to rev it up once again this week after two emotionally-draining games.
How to Bet on Penn State vs. Michigan State
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.
We strongly recommend FOX Bet PA because of its terrific bet boosts, $20 sign up bonus, and $100 first deposit match.
FanDuel Sportsbook also launched in Indiana this week, giving players there an opportunity to take advantage of its $500 risk-free bet offer.
There are plenty of excellent offers tailored for this game. FOX Bet is offering nine bet boosts for Penn State-Michigan State. Here’s a sampling:
- Any defensive or special teams touchdown +175 (from +160)
- Penn State -5.5 and Under 43.5 points +270 (from +250)
- Penn State -5.5 and Over 43.5 points +240 (from +225)
FOX Bet also offers a variety of bets branded with FOX Sports talent. This week, Clay Travis’ Blood Bank Bet Boost is the “Under” in this game at 44.5 (+100). Essentially, that gives totals betters an additional two points of value in relation to the current total at even odds.
How to Watch Penn State vs. Michigan State
- Date: Saturday, October 26
- Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
- Location: Spartan Stadium (East Lansing, MI)
- Network: ABC
Penn State vs. Michigan State 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 the responsible thing right now.
Partly cloudy skies on Saturday morning in East Lansing will give way to cloud cover and a steady rain by mid-afternoon. Currently, there’s a 95% chance of precipitation throughout the game and light winds reaching 10 mph are expected. The weather conditions could create a slippery track at Spartan Stadium that slows both offenses and impacts the kicking games. The weather shouldn’t be brutal, but it figures to be a factor.
Hello from near the Detroit airport, where plenty of Penn State fans can be found. So, weather stuff is happening again in East Lansing.
40-degree temps and a ton of rain are expected throughout the Michigan State vs Penn State matchup.
Just another day in Big Ten Paradise. pic.twitter.com/ahfoGovqFR
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) October 26, 2019
Penn State vs. Michigan State Odds
Here are the current Penn State-Michigan State betting odds at some of the top legal online sportsbooks as of 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning:
|Penn State||-5 (-110)||-225||O 42.5 (-110)|
|Michigan State||+5.5 (-110)||+190||U 42.5 (-110)|
|Penn State||-4.5 (-120)||-210||O 43.5 (-110)|
|Michigan State||+4.5 (-103)||+170||U 43.5 (-110)|
|Penn State||-4.5(-110)||-215||O 43 (-110)|
|Michigan State||+4.5 (-110)||+170||U 43 (-110)|
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 69.9% win probability against Michigan State, while the implied probability of the -225 moneyline price on Penn State at FOX Bet carries a 69.2% win probability.
Penn State’s moneyline price is almost spot on in relation to its FPI win probability, meaning it’s not overvalued or underpriced.
As for Michigan State, there’s no value on the Spartans at +180 moneyline odds (35.7% implied probability) 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
Michigan State Has Been Ice Cold ATS
It’s been a rough go for those backing the Spartans dating back to the end of last season:
- Michigan State has covered only 2 of its last 11 contests.
- Michigan State is only 2-10 ATS over its last 12 home games.
Penn State Has Been Hot on the Road Recently
Penn State has won seven of its last eight road games. They’ve already proven they can get it done on the road in conference this season after thrashing Maryland and outlasting Iowa.
Penn State has also won 11 straight road games over unranked opponents.
Bigger Spreads and Quality Opponents Bode Well
Keep an eye on the spread here. If it climbs back up a bit, know that James Franklin’s Penn State teams are 10-5 ATS as a road favorite of 6.5 points or more and 8-4 ATS when favored by 6.5 points or more in conference games.
Penn State is 18-8-3 ATS against winning teams since the start of the 2016 season.
Big Ten home underdogs playing a conference opponent in the Top 10 are only 40-62-1 ATS.
Big Ten, Big Seasons, Big Problems
When Big Ten home underdogs between 5-7 points are playing a conference opponent in the Top 10, such teams are only 1-7 ATS.
Why Backing Michigan State is a Good Bet
This is a terrible spot for Penn State. Fresh off of two physically and emotionally-draining wins in consecutive weeks over ranked opponents, now the Nittany Lions have to gear up once again and play a team they’ve struggled with over the last two seasons. Penn State is a fairly sizable favorite in this game, but keep in mind they lost at home a season ago as a 13.5-point favorite and lost in East Lansing back in 2017 as a 9.5-point favorite when they were the No. 7 team in the country.
The Spartans, meanwhile, were waxed by an average of 31 points per game in embarrassing losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin earlier this month:
"We're all just a bunch of brothers
"We're doing it for each other"
This defense is doing it, alright…
— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) October 12, 2019
And they’re also coming off the bye week. This is a classic recipe for a bounce back by a proud program.
Struggles with the Spartans
Penn State has lost five of its last six games against Michigan State, while James Franklin’s teams are only 1-4 ATS against the Spartans.
Familiar Foes, Cover Woes
Penn State is just 9-12-1 ATS in conference road games under Franklin.
A Word on the Total
No play from us on the total of this one, but it’s worth noting that the under is 9-2 in Michigan State’s last 11 games against Big Ten opponents.
Where’s the Action Going?
Penn State opened as a consensus 6-point favorite on Sunday before climbing to a 6.5-point favorite by mid-week. A late-week surge on Michigan State has pushed this spread all the way down to Penn State -4.5 as of Saturday morning.
As of 8 a.m. Saturday morning, 63% of spread bets and 63% of the spread handle at reporting markets back Penn State, while 25% of total bets and 41% of the money is on the over.
Penn State vs. Michigan State Prediction
Michigan State is coming off back-to-back blowout losses. Combined with the fact that the Spartans are coming off the bye week and the spread continues to plummet, these factors make for a huge situational concern for Penn State, particularly given its recent struggles in this matchup.
Still, there are two primary reasons I’m (reluctantly) going with the Nittany Lions this week:
- Penn State is the better football team. Plain and simple, Penn State has a better defense and a more explosive offense. Michigan State and Brian Lewerke have done nothing against the conference’s other top defenses this season that suggests they’re in store for a big rebound performance on Saturday.
- While recent history hasn’t been kind to Penn State in this series, I think the disappointment of past seasons could actually be useful to James Franklin this time around. I’m sure he’s been quick to point out, oh, I don’t know–about 250 times this week that their season was unexpectedly derailed in East Lansing two years ago and that they suffered an embarrassing defeat at home as a monster favorite last year. The revenge spot–combined with a chance to stay alive for a shot at the College Football Playoff–should provide more than enough motivation in this one.
Prediction: Penn State (-4.5) over Michigan State