Two of the top teams in the Big Ten face off when the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines host the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions for a Saturday, 3:45 p.m. ET matchup at the Big House. Michigan hasn’t lost since its season opener against Notre Dame, while Penn State is back on track with two straight victories and is still in the hunt for a Big Ten East title. The Wolverines are 13.5-point home favorites in the latest Michigan vs. Penn State odds, up from an open of -10.5. The Over-Under for total points scored is set at 50.5. Both teams have big goals as the season winds down, but before you lock in any Michigan vs. Penn State picks, check out what SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh is saying.
The renowned co-founder of AccuScore, Oh simulates each game 10,000 times using the SportsLine projection model. Oh already is crushing college football in 2018, but he takes it up a few notches when the Nittany Lions are involved. He’s on an 11-2 run picking Penn State games. That includes taking PSU (-5.5) in last week’s 30-24 win over Iowa and taking the Lions earlier this season against Ohio State, Illinois and Kent State — all solid covers.
Now, he has crunched the numbers and generated a strong point-spread selection for Penn State vs. Michigan. It’s only available at SportsLine.
Oh knows Penn State has looked like a new team the last two weeks after dropping a pair of games. It’s due to an offense that has damaged opposing teams, including last week in a 30-24 win over Iowa and its fourth-ranked defense.
Quarterback Trace McSorley returned from injury in the second half to lead the way. On the season, he’s thrown for 1,628 yards, 12 TDs and four INTs and has run for another 617 yards and nine scores. He came up big in Penn State’s last massive showdown. The Lions lost 27-26 to Ohio State, but McSorley threw for 286 yards and two TDs and rushed for 165 yards as well.
Penn State’s defensive specialty is on making QBs uncomfortable — it has 28 sacks, most in the Big Ten, leads the league in passes defensed and has nine INTs.
But just because Penn State puts up points doesn’t mean Michigan won’t be able to cover.
While Penn State’s offense can pile on the yards, no defense has been better at stopping teams from doing so than Michigan’s. The Wolverines rank No. 1 in the nation, allowing a scant 220 yards per game. They’re especially tough against opposing QBs, allowing only 122.9 yards per game through the air. They’ve held seven of their eight opponents to their lowest yardage output of its season.
Michigan’s offense has playmakers as well. Quarterback Shea Patterson has 12 TDs and three INTs, while RB Karan Higdon is averaging 119 yards per game, eighth-most in the country. Defenses can’t focus on any individual receiver, either, since three pass-catchers have between 21 and 23 receptions.
Oh has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he’s leaning Under, he has discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing at SportsLine.
Who covers in Michigan vs. Penn State? And what crucial x-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the data scientist who’s an amazing 11-2 on picks involving the Nittany Lions.
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