Peach Bowl Betting Odds, Analysis, And Pick — Michigan State vs Pittsburgh

Let’s say you go all the way to New York to get tickets to a Broadway show. When you arrive you get your seats but learn that the stars of the play are going to be sitting out that performance.

That’s the disappointing fact of this year’s Peach Bowl. Both teams are missing their star players. The Spartans will be without running back Kenneth Walker III, and Pitt will not have quarterback Kenny Pickett in uniform. Both players finished in the top six of the Heisman Trophy voting, and both have decided to sit out this game to protect their future earnings as professional football players.

Because he is a QB, Pickett’s absence moved the betting odds the most, but Walker’s absence cannot be ignored. Here are all the important betting numbers for Thursday night’s game in Atlanta.

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Peach Bowl Betting Odds

DraftKings Pittsburgh +2.5 (-110)
Michigan State -2.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh +105
Michigan State -125
Over 56.5 +100
Under 56.5 -120
BetMGM Pittsburgh +2.5 (-110)
Michigan State -2.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh +120
Michigan State -140
Over 56 (-110)
Under 56 (-110)
Caesars Pittsburgh +2.5 (-110)
Michigan State -2.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh +115
Michigan State -135
Over 56 (-110)
Under 56 (-110)
FanDuel Pittsburgh +2.5 (-105)
Michigan State -2.5 (-115)
Pittsburgh +116
Michigan State -142
Over 56 (-110)
Under 56 (-110)

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Peach Bowl Analysis

The Spartans (10-2) enter the Peach Bowl as slight favorites, despite missing their most potent offensive player. But wait: The Panthers (11-2) will also be without theirs Pickett, a Heisman Trophy finalist. As a result, this game presents opportunities for the sharp bettor.

The Panthers are hard to figure. They defeated Clemson and Tennessee, but on the other hand, they lost to Western Michigan of the MAC and struggled against North Carolina narrowly winning in overtime.

What does that mean for their bowl chances? It means we don’t know which Panther team we’ll see on Thursday. They will also have a backup QB under center, seeing as Pickett has opted for the NFL Draft in June and has decided to watch this bowl game from the sidelines.

Only seven college teams allowed fewer than 100 yards per game rushing, Pitt being one of them. The Spartans average 186 yards on the ground per game. However, Walker III has declared his eligibility for the upcoming NFL Draft and won’t play in the Peach Bowl.

That means understudy sophomores Jordon Simmons and Elijah Collins will get a chance to run the ball for the Spartans. Collins is banged up, and Simmons is untested against big-time opponents.

This game comes down to the Pitt defense against second-string running options for MSU. Neither the Panthers nor the Spartans are expected to do much damage through the air.

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Peach Bowl Betting Pick

Pitt averaged 43 points per game, third-most in the country. How much of that was due to Pickett? How will backup Nick Patti perform as the starter? Will MSU’s secondary confuse the fourth-year second-stringer? Will the Spartans be able to get pressure on Patti?

I see MSU struggling to stop the Panther offense, which can still get deep and find the end zone, even without Pickett.

Take the points and bet on Pittsburgh. I also think this game is likely to go over the 55-56 Total we’re seeing from most sportsbooks.

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.