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Penn State vs. Michigan Betting Odds, Picks, and Prediction for Week 7
The Penn State Nittany Lions, the Michigan Wolverines, and the Ohio State Buckeyes, the last three teams without a loss in the Big Ten Conference. To win the Big Ten, these squads will eventually have to go through each other. This week will be the first Top 10 meeting of the Nittany Lions and Wolverines since 1997, and conference championship hopes -- possibly even playoff aspirations -- will be at stake for No. 10 Penn State and No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor this Saturday.
Penn State is coming into this matchup after a bye. In their previous contest, they defeated the Northwestern Wildcats, 17-7. The Nittany Lions held Northwestern to only 241 total yards, including a pathetic 31 rushing yards. If the rain and wind didn't make the game miserable enough Penn State's defense added to the Wildcats' misery.
Michigan defeated the Indiana Hoosiers last Saturday, 31-10. While the Wolverines' season began with a quarterback controversy, the biggest controversy may be that there was even a controversy in the first place. Regardless of the injury to Cade McNamara, J.J. McCarthy cemented his status as QB1 for Michigan last week, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdown passes.
Penn State vs. Michigan Odds for Week 7
Spread: Michigan -7 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Total: 51 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Penn State +230, Michigan -275 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
The total is currently set at 51, which is not very high, but may be too high for this matchup. In the first six contests involving Michigan, the under has occurred five times. Also, considering that Penn State put up just 17 points in their last matchup against the lackluster defense of Northwestern, they may not put up big numbers against the Wolverine's defense either.
Both of these defenses have played well all year, allowing more than 14 points in a contest just one time each this season; the Nittany Lions allowed 31 points to Purdue in Week 1, and Michigan allowed 27 points to Maryland in Week 4.
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Penn State vs. Michigan Betting Picks This Week
The focal point of both of these offenses is the running game. Penn State's freshman running back tandem of Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen lead their backfield in carries. Singleton is averaging 7.3 yards per carry and Allen is averaging 5.3 yards per carry. On the other sideline, Michigan may have the best running back in the country in Blake Corum, who has already racked up 735 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns this season. These running games are both strong, but so will be the opposing defenses.
Penn State is allowing just 79.6 rushing yards per game, fifth-best in the NCAA. Michigan is allowing only 81.7 rushing yards per game, seventh-best in the NCAA. The Nittany Lions and Wolverines will continuously attempt to smash their ground game through the brick wall opposite them. Three yards and a cloud of dust, and a lot of clock time eaten up. This game's total could be in the 30's at Final.
Penn State vs. Michigan Best Bet: UNDER 51 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Penn State vs. Michigan Prediction
Jim Harbaugh has a quarterback that he is as comfortable with as a pair of khakis, and J.J. McCarthy may have to find a way to move Harbaugh's offense downfield in Week 7. Penn State's rushing defense is good enough to keep Blake Corum from padding his Heisman Trophy resume. The Nittany Lions' passing defense on the other hand, has looked shaky at times, allowing 262 passing yards per game, 102nd-best in the NCAA. McCarthy has an opportunity to build on his stock after last week's 300-yard, three-touchdown performance. Despite the wobbly Penn State secondary, the sure-handed Blake Corum should still see close to 30 carries.
Quarterback Sean Clifford has not been asked to hoist this Penn State offense on his back, but at times has shown a flash or two, such as his four passing touchdowns against Purdue in Week 1. This week would be a bad time to depend on Clifford as Michigan is surrendering only 165.3 passing yards per game, 11th-best in the NCAA. If the Nittany Lions can't move the ball on the ground, they are doomed.
The Wolverines will win this low-scoring, rugby scrum contest at home. I'll say No. 5 Michigan defeats No. 10 Penn State, 24-14.
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