Michigan hosts Penn State in a Big Ten showdown Saturday at 3:45 p.m. ET that will have major implications on the East division standings. The fifth-ranked Wolverines, who have College Football Playoff aspirations, are 10.5-point home favorites over the No. 12 Nittany Lions, with the Over-Under set at 52.5 points. It’s a must-win game for both sides, but for different reasons, so before you enter your Michigan vs. Penn State picks, check out what SportsLine data scientist Stephen Oh has to say.
The renowned co-founder of AccuScore, Oh simulates each game 10,000 times using the SportsLine projection model. Oh already is crushing college football in 2018, but he takes it up a few notches when the Nittany Lions are involved. He’s on an 11-2 run picking Penn State games. That includes taking PSU (-5.5) in last week’s 30-24 win over Iowa and taking the Lions earlier this season against Ohio State, Illinois and Kent State — all solid covers.
Now, he has crunched the numbers and generated a strong point-spread selection for Penn State vs. Michigan. It’s only available at SportsLine.
Oh knows that since falling to Ohio State and Michigan State by a combined five points, the Nittany Lions righted things on the scoreboard, beating Indiana and Iowa. While inconsistent, Penn State possesses one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. Of Penn State’s eight opponents, five surrendered a season-high in points the day they faced Trace McSorley and company. Last week, Penn State dropped 30 points on Iowa’s fourth-ranked defense.
McSorley has thrown for 1,628 yards, 12 TDs and four INTs, and has run for another 617 yards and nine scores. Pair him with RB Miles Sanders (834 yards, eight TDs), and the Nittany Lions rank 28th in total offense.
Penn State’s defense, meanwhile, puts pressure on the QB, led by sophomore DE Yetur Gross-Matos, who in the past two weeks has 19 tackles and four sacks. He has six of his team’s 28 sacks and three different DBs have two INTs apiece, making it a risk to attack any side of the field.
But just because Penn State puts up points doesn’t mean Michigan won’t be able to cover.
While Penn State’s offense can pile on the yards, no defense has been better at stopping teams from doing so than Michigan’s. The Wolverines rank No. 1 in the nation, allowing a scant 220 yards per game. They’re especially tough against opposing QBs, allowing only 122.9 yards per game through the air. They’ve held seven of their eight opponents to their lowest yardage output of its season.
Michigan’s offense has playmakers as well. Quarterback Shea Patterson has 12 TDs and three INTs, while RB Karan Higdon is averaging 119 yards per game, eighth-most in the country. Defenses can’t focus on any individual receiver, either, since three pass-catchers have between 21 and 23 receptions.
Oh has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he’s leaning Under, he has discovered a crucial x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing at SportsLine.
Who covers in Michigan vs. Penn State? And what crucial x-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side you need to jump all over Saturday, all from the data scientist who’s an amazing 11-2 on picks involving the Nittany Lions.