Bet 'Over' for Michigan State vs. Penn State College Football

Willie Bee

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 1:12 PM GMT

Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014 1:12 PM GMT

Michigan State heads to Penn State looking for its 10th win of the college football betting schedule. Join us for a preview and free pick of Saturday's Big Ten battle.

Mark Dantonio and the Michigan State Spartans will not be part of the inaugural College Football Playoff. A loss to Oregon early in the season and another just a few weeks ago to Ohio State dashed those hopes to leave the Spartans outside the new format to determine a National Champion.

Maybe in a few years when the CFP has expanded to at least eight teams -- and then 16 -- a solid 2-loss team like Michigan State can get into the mix. Until then, however, MSU is simply going to have to be satisfied with an attractive bowl invite -- and the payday that comes with it -- awaits.

The Spartans take aim at a 10+ win season for the fourth time in five years when they travel to Happy Valley for a Big Ten matchup with the Penn State Nittany Lions. The contest is part of Saturday's 3:30 PM (ET) ABC/ESPN2 regional lineup, which also includes a Big 12 battle between the Baylor Bears and Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Michigan State opened as 13½ point chalk on SBR's live college football odds, that number dropping half a notch to 13 now. Scoreboard bettors are facing an early decision in a 45 point total, one that I expect to go down before kickoff.

It's the 29th gridiron meeting between the Spartans and Nittany Lions, and the odds point to Michigan State leveling the series which currently finds Penn State with a 14-13-1 edge.  Four years have passed since the teams last met in 2010, a 28-20 MSU victory at PSU as a 1 point favorite. That contest never quite made it to a 51 point total, stopping a run of three 'overs' between the two schools.

 

Spartans Among Nation's Top Scorers
Michigan State has strung together successive wins and covers since dropping a 49-37 decision to the Buckeyes on Nov. 8. The victories at Maryland two weeks ago and vs. Rutgers at home this past week were nothing short of team efforts, the offense and defense both clicking in each game.

Coincidentally, both wins finished 'under' the totals after the Spartans began the 2014 college football betting campaign with eight 'over' winners in their first nine games. Sending those earlier games past the mark was an offense that still ranks sixth in the country averaging nearly 44 points per game.

A big part of that offensive success has been the play of the O-line, and the group is likely to be without one of its senior leaders for the Penn State game. Right guard Travis Jackson is doubtful after injuring an ankle early in the win vs. Rutgers. Replacing their captain will likely mean shuffling the line with right tackle Donavon Clark moving to guard while Kodi Kieler takes Clark's tackle job.

 

Lions Coming Off Tough Loss To Illini
Penn State should also be headed to a bowl game after reaching the 6-win minimum two weeks ago vs. Temple. Still, seven wins would look a lot better than a 6-6 regular season mark, and even with the name recognition that the Nittany Lions bring to any bowl, they've missed several golden opportunities to already have a seventh win at this point.

The most recent setback to Illinois is a prime example, and gets added to the list with defeats at the hands of Northwestern and Maryland who, like the Illini last week, were underdogs. Penn State's defense, third in the country allowing just over 267 yards per game, couldn't stave off a final drive by Illinois in the 16-14 loss, and the running game on the offensive side of the ball was once again pathetic.

A dreary day is in the State College forecast, though the current word's rain should hold off until the evening hours. Cloudy skies and 40º are listed for the start of the game, but bear monitoring before making a wager.

It is very easy to imagine these two teams in a begrudging defensive battle, which is behind my prediction of the total going down. Count me also among those who believe PSU will find it tough to move against MSU. But it's the Spartans' ability to create turnovers that should lead to extra scores; put me down for the 'over' for my free college football pick.

College Football Pick: Michigan State-Penn State Over 45 at 5Dimes
Season: 57-37-1 (+16.30)

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":294544, "sportsbooksIds":[19,43,227,1096,999996,93,238,123,139], "LineTypeId":5, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

comment here