Christian Hackenberg and the Penn State Nittany Lions will look to remain unbeaten at home this season while running the postseason hopes of Jim Harbaugh’s 14th-ranked Michigan Wolverines when the two rivals square off in their Week 12 Big Ten meeting on Saturday.
This week, the college football odds favor Michigan by 5-points to beat Penn State. Can the well-rested Lions will look to cover the spread as home underdogs against a Wolverines team that was fortunate to escape its Week 11 matchup with a victory.
Now, let’s find out which one of these Big Ten programs will bring home the bacon!
A Closer Look At The No. 14 Michigan Wolverines at Penn State Nittany Lions Odds & Betting Analysis
What: No. 14 Michigan Wolverines (8-2) at Penn State Nittany Lions (7-3)
When: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Kickoff: 12:00 PM ET
Where: University Park, PA
Stadium: Beaver Stadium
Weather: 48° F | Partly Cloud
Spread: Michigan -4.5
Moneyline: Michigan -210 vs Penn State +175
Game Total: 42.5
Stream: Watch ESPN
Listen: Michigan vs Penn State
Bet The Michigan Wolverines at -4.5 Because…
In the last 2 games, the Wolverines have averaged 534.0 yards of offense after posting a 358.6 mark through their first 8.
There are two good reasons to bet on Michigan to take don Penn State this week. First, the Wolverines have the better defense, although not by much. Secondly, Michigan has the clear-cut edge in the head coaching department with Jim Harbaugh being among the best coaches on the planet and Penn State’s James Franklin not even in the same conversation.
Michigan (8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS) enters this Week 12 Big Ten battle looking to record their fourth straight win since losing to Michigan State on Oct. 17.
The Wolverines recorded a hard-fought 48-41 double overtime win over Indiana on Saturday despite never coming close to covering the NCAAF betting line as a 12.5-point road favorite.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) November 15, 2015
Quarterback Jake Rudock completed 33-of-46 passes for a career-high 440 yards and a career-best six touchdowns, but it was wide receiver Jehu Chesson that led the way by racking up 10 catches for 207 yards and four touchdowns.
"Jehu (Chesson) came to play," Harbaugh said. "I told him this week during practice that he’s got everything it takes to be a great player, someday a great pro player. The only thing I think he was missing was tracking the deep ball, making the deep ball catches. And today, boom, he does it."
Chesson caught a 5-yard TD pass on the final play of regulation to send the game to overtime before the Wolverines outlasted the Hoosiers.
Jake Rudock has completed 64.2 percent of his passes this season for 2,220 yards with 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The Wolverines are ranked 49th in scoring (32.6 ppg) and a stellar sixth in points allowed (14.8 ppg).
Bet The Penn State Nittany Lions at +4.5 Because…
The Wolverines are 1-3 ATS on the road this season while the Nittany Lions are 4-2 ATS at home.
There are two good reasons to wager on Penn State in this contest. First, the Nittany Lions are unbeaten at home and second, they have a future NFL performer in gifted quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
The Nittany Lions (7-3 SU, 4-6 ATS) had a bye in Week 11 following their heartbreaking 23-21 road loss against Northwestern as a 2-point road favorite two weeks ago.
Penn State almost pulled off the comeback by limiting the Wildcats to just three second-half points. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg completed 21 of 40 passes for 205 yards while running back Saquon Barkley rushed for 120 yards and two scores on 25 carries.
"They were able to run the ball on us consistently really all day long," Nittany Lions coach James Franklin. "On special teams, it’s hard to give up a kickoff return for a touchdown and be successful."
Unfortunately, the Nittany Lions also gave up a whopping 186 yards on 28 carries to Wildcats running back Justin Jackson in the loss while going an uninspiring 4-for-17 on third downs.
"At the end we had opportunities, four minute offense, four minute defense," Franklin said. "At the end, we weren’t able to play winning football."
For the season, Hackenberg has completed 54.2 percent of his passes for 1,992 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions while Barkley leads the ground attack with 836 yards and seven touchdowns.
Penn State is ranked 93rd in scoring (25.2 ppg) but a fantastic 13th in points allowed (17.7 ppg).
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) November 18, 2015
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
A convincing 67 percent of the betting public likes Michigan to get the road win and accompanying ATS cover, but I don’t!
The Wolverines have been very fortunate to win two of their last three games and Penn State has played very well in winning tow of three and giving Northwestern a tough way to go since losing to Ohio State four weeks ago.
For me, this game has the look of a classic field goal contest that Penn State could not only cover the spread in, but do so by getting the outright home win.
Michigan lost on the road at Utah and beat Indiana and Minnesota by a combined 10 points.
Penn State is unbeaten at home and has plenty of motivation to ruin Michigan’s big-time bowl game hopes while improving their own chances of participating in a big-name bowl game.
The Wolverines are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games following a bye week and 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games. The Nittany Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five home games and 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games following an ATS loss.
The home team in this Big ten rivalry is 5-1 ATS in their last half-dozen meetings while Michigan has gone 1-4 ATS in their last five dates against the Nittany Lions.
I’m going with Penn State for the upset!