Michigan Wolverines vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Date and Time: Saturday, October 21, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA
Opening College Football Odds: Penn State -12.5
Michigan vs. Penn State TV Coverage: ABC
There were a slew of sharp bettors who lined up early in the week last week to fade the Wolverines at all of the best college football sportsbooks. Big Blue opened up at -7 and ultimately closed there as well, but in the middle of the week, there were plenty of sharps playing Indiana at +5 to +6.
The Wolverines were always the better team on the field, but they shot themselves in the foot time and time again and needed overtime to beat the Hoosiers.
The big concern for Michigan, of course, is its offense. This team has yet to score more than 36 points in a game this season, and the fact that it only has 13 offensive touchdowns in six games probably tells you all you need to know.
With Wilton Speight still sidelined with a broken back, it's up to John O'Korn to continue to lead this team. In fairness, he got the job done against IU in Bloomington, but how much confidence does Jim Harbaugh really have in him? O'Korn went 10-for-20 for just 58 yards against the Hoosiers.
Penn State is fresh off of its bye week, and it has to be feeling really good about itself. The 21-19 win at Iowa still looms large in the minds of bettors, but aside from that, it's really hard to complain about anything PSU has accomplished. The Nittany Lions are 4-1-1 ATS this season, and their only game that was even remotely close was the one at Kinnick Stadium.
Of course, there's a score to settle here. The Nittany Lions were destroyed last season at the Big House, 49-10. It was one of the worst games of Trace McSorley's career, while current Heisman Trophy favorite, Saquon Barkley was bottled up all game long with his 15 carries for 59 yards.
16 – The number of penalties Michigan committed last week against Indiana, a school record.
The Wolverines have enough problems right now with O'Korn under center. The last thing they need is to be shooting themselves in the foot time and time again with penalties.
Penn State ranks No. 12 in the nation in penalties per game at just 4.0. Michigan? Over double that at 8.5 infractions per game. The Wolverines' 74.3 penalty yards per game ranks No. 118 in the nation, some 90 spots worse than Penn State's 38.7 yards per game in yellow hankies.
Michigan vs. Penn State Free Picks
There are going to be a lot of sharps all over the Nittany Lions in this game, but we aren't sure it's all that justified. Last season, Penn State really took advantage of the Big Ten's cluster at the end of the year, and that's why it's ranked in the top 5 in the land this year. But is there a justification for the Nittany Lions being set at -12.5 against a Michigan team that, up until its loss to Michigan State, was a top 10 team in its own right?
The style of this game is what is going to get us. The Nittany Lions are going to have no problem trying to line up and slug out a 20-13 victory. Michigan rarely loses these types of games.
This just has the feel to us of yet another upset of a top 10 squad. If Barkley can't average more than five yards per carry and McSorley has to put the game on his shoulders, this could be the beginning of the end for PSU with roadies against Ohio State and Michigan State coming up next.
College Football ATS Pick: Michigan +12.5 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Michigan 19, Penn State 14