Michigan vs. Penn State Expert Pick and Prediction – November 11, 2023
MICHIGAN VS. PENN STATE EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – November 11, 2023 — Both teams now come into Happy Valley with serious questions, and the answers will decide who claims the Big Ten East in the final year of divisions. On Penn State’s side, can the Nittany Lions finally show they can be great? James Franklin made none of the right moves against Ohio State, and the Penn State offense stalled out completely in Columbus.
Against Michigan, that’s a real problem. The Wolverines have shown all year that you have to score to beat them, and there’s no guarantee that Penn State can move the ball against a top team. Drew Allar and the offense had no problems against the likes of Maryland and Iowa, but Michigan’s on another level.
Related: Georgia vs. Missouri Recap
The Wolverines have their own issues: they’ve got the scandal of stealing signals from other Big Ten schools hanging over them. So far, they haven’t played like a distracted team. They also haven’t played anyone decent all season. The best opponent Michigan has seen all year is Rutgers; nobody else on the Wolverines’ schedule has more than three wins against Power 5 opponents.
Based off last season and the scores it’s put up, Michigan is probably an excellent team. But it’s done nothing but beat nine also-rans, which means neither team has proven it’s ready to handle this game. The difference is, Michigan has at least proven it in past seasons; Penn State hasn’t in several years.
(9-0 SU, 4-4-1 ATS)
(8-1 SU, 7-2 ATS)
When: Saturday, November 11th at Noon EST
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park, Pa.
Public Bets: 58% on Michigan
Public Money: 82% on Michigan
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of November 8th, 2023.
Michigan vs. Penn State In-Season Trends
Since James Franklin got to University Park, Michigan’s offense really hasn’t been able to do much in Beaver Stadium. In their past four trips to the Keystone State, the Wolverines have averaged just 20.75 points per game, only topping 21 points once. As such, the Wolverines have had to rely on the defense to do the job when on the road.
When they’ve succeeded, Michigan’s come out on top. Penn State has gone 3-6 in its past nine meetings against Michigan, and the Nittany Lions topped 20 points in all three wins. When they failed to break 17 points, the Wolverines were victorious every time.
That doesn’t bode well in this game, as these teams have both looked excellent on defense all season. The Nittany Lions have gone defense-heavy all year, but in this matchup, they will have to score.
Moderate wind and low temperatures could make for tough conditions. Temperatures will sit in the mid 40s with wind sustained at 10 miles per hour.
Drew Allar had his shot against Ohio State, and he didn’t answer the call. Part of that is because Penn State did not put him in position to succeed and did not run the football well. The Nittany Lions needed to take some risks and run the ball and did neither. The Michigan run defense is not as strong as Ohio State’s, so Penn State has some opportunity there.
JJ McCarthy has looked really strong over his past two weeks, blowouts of Michigan State and Purdue. But he also hasn’t seen a really good defense in a month, and he’s shown some signs of slowing down against good defenses.
Against Nebraska, the Wolverines might have had issues if not for the Cornhuskers’ horrible offense. Michigan struggled early against the Nebraska defense and had its problems with Rutgers. Penn State marks the best defense the Wolverines have seen all year.
We’re still not sure how good Michigan is because of its soft schedule. We know Penn State is good but not quite great. That makes for a tough pick on the spread.
The main thing here is that I know I want the under, because Penn State’s defense should slow down the Michigan attack. The Nittany Lions take great pride on that side of the ball and bottled up Ohio State, which should give them an edge against Michigan.
But given what happened overall against the Buckeyes, I can’t trust Penn State here.