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Michigan vs Penn State Predictions

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2023

The tame start to the schedule is finally over for No. 3 Michigan. This Saturday, it’ll travel to No. 11 Penn State for by far its biggest test of the year so far.

This series has been annual for a decade now, but that won’t be the case anymore starting next season, as the Big Ten reorganizes to accommodate new members. The Wolverines have won the last two meetings, own the all-time series 16-10, and will be 4.5-point favorites Saturday in State College.

Will Michigan stay undefeated, or will its first major challenger take it down? Find out with our free Michigan Wolverines vs Penn State Nittany Lions college football picks and predictions for Saturday, Nov. 11, at noon ET.

Michigan vs Penn State Odds

Track our latest CFB odds for Wolverines vs Nittany Lions:

NCAAF lines used for Michigan at Penn State are current as of Sunday, Nov. 5, at 8:30 p.m. ET on DraftKings Sportsbook.

  • Moneyline: Michigan (-198) • Penn State (+164)
  • Spread: Michigan -4.5 (-110) • Penn State +4.5 (-110)
  • Total Points: Over 43.5 (-110) • Under 43.5 (-110)

Michigan is favored by less than a touchdown on the road, but perhaps the more interesting number is the total, a relatively high number for possibly the two best defenses in the country

Michigan vs Penn State Prediction

SCORE PICK: Michigan 23, Penn State 13

It’s not a perfect measure, but EPA per play considers these two defenses to be No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, as does yardage allowed, with Michigan holding a small edge by both measures. Success rate says Penn State is first and Michigan third, while points scored once again has Michigan at the top but Penn State third, so no matter how you slice it, this is an incredible defensive matchup.

The issue is that Michigan’s defense, as impressive as it has been, is relatively untested; it hasn’t played an offense that comes anywhere close to elite just yet. Penn State’s hasn’t been consistently excellent, but the upside with Drew Allar at quarterback is tremendous.

Overall, Penn State will give Michigan by far the best fight it’s seen all year, but Michigan’s championship experience - and far superior offense - will be enough to eke out the win in a tough road environment.

Michigan vs Penn State Best Bets

Michigan -4.5 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

I could cite any number of statistics about Michigan’s tremendous margins of victory in its previous games this season, but it hasn’t played anyone like Penn State. Instead, let’s look at instances of the two teams playing games that could more closely resemble this one.

Penn State lost 20-12 to Ohio State not too long ago, and while the Buckeyes and Wolverines are not the same, they’re probably the best comparisons for each other within the Big Ten. Looking a bit farther back, when Penn State visited Michigan last year, it lost, 41-17.

It’s a new season, but this Wolverines team has many of the same core contributors, including superstar running back Blake Corum and quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who has taken a big step up in terms of consistency. They’re the top squad in the country by both success rate and overall EPA for a reason, and they’ll show why on Saturday by winning by multiple scores.

Under 43.5 (-110)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 Unit

In its Week 10 game, Michigan allowed a touchdown to Purdue with 18 seconds left to make the score 41-13. Until that moment, it had not allowed an opponent to score more than 10 points in any one of its games this season, marking the end of a truly remarkable stretch of dominance.

The Wolverines offense also runs at the second-slowest pace in the country, chewing up more than 30 seconds per snap.

Penn State has had a few more hiccups, but it has had some great showings, too. This week, it stifled a solid Maryland offense, holding it to 15 points in its own stadium.

With stars like edge rusher Chop Robinson and safety Kevin Winston Jr., it’ll make it extremely tough for a Michigan offense that has been relatively untested thus far, and keep this game a low-scoring duel.

Michigan vs Penn State Same Game Parlay

Michigan vs Penn State SGP (+176)

DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.50 Units

  • Under 43.5 (-110)
  • Michigan (-198)

Almost a week ahead of kickoff, we are fairly limited in our SGP options, so we’ll just build off of the concepts we’ve already discussed, with a bit of a twist to protect ourselves a bit. Michigan’s side of the spread cuts off the key football number of three, which is obviously important in a game decided by a field goal, and thus opens you up to a bit of risk.

While that’s still a good bet, parlaying the moneyline with the Under protects you in the case of an ugly, low-scoring battle where Penn State stays close.

Author

John Arlia

Before joining The Game Day, John served as the National Writer for the United Soccer League, where he primarily covered the USL Championship out of the league’s headquarters in Tampa, FL. A devout soccer fan, John attended the men’s World Cups in Brazil and Russia and can’t wait for the 2026 edition to come to North America. Having also written for Sporting News Canada since getting his master’s from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU, John has acquired a diverse sporting background, but considers football, golf, and soccer his three strong suits.

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