Michigan Vs. Penn State Betting Odds And Analysis

If there’s one emotion that Jim Harbaugh has always had in reserve, it’s optimism. The Michigan football coach doesn’t let adversity derail his mindset. He always keeps his rhetoric positive when discussing the Wolverines program.

That optimism is being tested with three games left on the schedule. The Wolverines are 8-1, but their loss came in a conference game against their in-state rivals, the Spartans of Michigan State. Now, Harbaugh is preparing his team to face Penn State on Saturday in Happy Valley (Noon, ET).

Want drama? The Wolverines, Spartans, and Ohio State are bundled together at the top of the Big Ten East, which makes each game crucial.

The No. 9-ranked Wolverines will need to take care of their own business and will need help if they wish to win their first Big Ten title in the Harbaugh Era. The Spartans must lose a game (possibly at OSU on Nov. 20?), and Michigan must defeat the Buckeyes on Nov. 27 at The Big House in Ann Arbor.

The first step for Harbaugh to claim a Big Ten East crown is defeating Penn State, a team that started 5-0 but has since dropped three of four in conference play. 

Also Read: DraftKings Michigan promo gives new users $100 in free bets

Penn State vs. Michigan Betting Odds

Sportsbook Point spread Moneyline Total  
DraftKings Michigan -1 (-110)
Penn State +1 (-110)
Michigan -120
Penn State +100
Over -110/Under -110
FanDuel Penn State -0.5 (-106)
Michigan +0.5 (-114)
Penn State -106
Michigan -114
Over -110/Under -110
Caesars Sportsbook Michigan pk (-110)
Penn State pk (-110)
Michigan -110
Penn State -110
Over -110/Under -110
BetRivers Penn State -1.5 (-104)
Michigan +1.5 (-118)
Penn State -113
Michigan -108
Over -110/Under -110

For all the Michigan fans out there, it has to be nerve-wracking to see the team head into a hostile environment at Beaver Stadium, which is only about 30 seats smaller than Michigan Stadium. The Nittany Lions fans will be in full white-out mode and loud, with hopes of knocking off a Big Ten contender.

As of Tuesday, sportsbooks have the Nittany Lions as slight favorites in their home environment, but Michigan has already shown it can withstand enemy crowds, having gone into Madison to beat the 20th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers last month.

Penn State QB Sean Clifford has never lost to a Michigan school, posting a 4-0 mark against Michigan and Michigan State. He can run the football, but he isn’t comfortable throwing on the move. He likes to target his running backs, but he will toss the ball when needed, having thrown 99 passes in Penn State’s last two games. Michigan’s 6th-ranked defense will put pressure on him while attempting to close off his passing lanes to his RB corps.

Has Harbaugh learned his lesson, or will he continue to shuttle two quarterbacks in and out of the game? Against MSU it may have cost him the game when J.J. McCarthy fumbled not once, but twice in a fourth-quarter collapse. The other QB, Cade McNamara, has more swagger and a bigger shoulder, but he’s also banged up. The Wolverines would be smart to get the running game going early to take control of the line of scrimmage.

The Wolverines will probably do just enough to win this game in Happy Valley. If Harbaugh has proven anything in his career at his alma mater, it’s that he gets his team ready in these non-rivalry games. And his senior class wants a chance to beat Ohio State for the first time with something on the line.

Also Read: Michigan State vs. Maryland betting odds and preview

Michigan/Penn State Rivalry

The Wolverines and Nittany Lions don’t have the type of rivalry that Penn State has with MSU. There is no trophy, trinket, or bragging rights up for grabs with this game, but Harbaugh revels in playing in Happy Valley, where coaching legend Joe Paterno built Penn State into a national powerhouse.

The Wolverines lead the all-time series 14-10, with all of their matchups occurring since Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1990. The Nittany Lions have won the last two games, however, by a combined score of 55-38. That includes a 27-17 victory last year in Ann Arbor. That loss was a blow to Michigan, because the Nittany Lions were a losing team and not expected to challenge the Maize and Blue.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.