The Penn State at Michigan pick is a tough one to handicap because both teams have been so absolutely horrible this season. That’s especially true for the Nittany Lions, who are setting school records in futility during their 0-5 start. Michigan hasn’t been much better though, most recently needing OT to get a win over Rutgers as -11 favorites.
The Wolverines are a -1 point favorite on Saturday in Ann Arbor, down from a -3.5 open. Michigan has gone 0-2 at home this season, losing a rivalry game to Michigan State as -21.5 favorites and getting destroyed 49-11 by Wisconsin. PSU has lost by just one score in both their road defeats, can they finally pull out a win?
Penn State Needs to Limit Turnovers
Penn State has the 4th best defense in the Big Ten, but are also allowing 36.0 ppg which is the second highest total behind Rutgers. The biggest problem for the Nittany Lions defense is that their own offense doesn’t do them any favors, often resulting in poor field position or heavy time of possession deficits.
That was the same recipe last week, Sean Clifford tossed two INTs and Penn State lost 2 other fumbles en route to a 41-21 Iowa win. The Hawkeyes had five scoring drives of 55 yards or less in that game. The good thing heading into the Penn State at Michigan pick is that the Wolverines defense is down this year as well, ranking 5th from the bottom in yards/game allowed.
What does Penn State do about the QB position though? The team started Will Levis vs. Iowa and he was an accurate yet unimpressive 13/16 for 106 yards. Clifford came in and threw two TDs, but he also had those two costly INTs, his third multi-interception game in five played.
Does Michigan Have Momentum?
Sure it took 3OT against a Rutgers team that has dropped 25 of its last 26 conference games but Michigan will take any victory at this point. There is plenty to build off of last week’s victory, and at the top of that list is Jim Harbaugh, maybe, possibly, finally finding a QB.
Cade McNamara came in for the ineffective Joe Milton last week and went 27/36 for 260 yards and 4 TD. Most importantly McNamara didn’t have an INT because when Penn State turns the ball over, the last thing you want to do is give it right back. Milton tossed two INTs in each of the losses to Wisconsin and Indiana in the weeks prior.
The Wolverines also believe they’ve found a lead back as Hassan Haskins carried the ball 22 times for 110 yards and a score. Granted this all happened against Rutgers’ defense, and Michigan had their own issues on that side of the ball as Scarlet Knights’ QB Noah Vedral had 378 yards passing and 3 TD. Wisconsin also churned out 341 yards on the ground the week prior against Michigan.
Free Penn State at Michigan Pick
It’s hard to find an edge in a game between two teams that have absolutely destroyed bettors this season. Who likes winless Penn State, but at the same time why is Michigan just a -1 favorite at home against an 0-5 team? 63% of the public likes the Wolverines, yet the line has moved away from them. It seems like the best play here is on two porous defenses continuing to give up points.
Michigan 35 – Penn State 34
Pick: Over 57.5