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Michigan State vs. Penn State

Betting Line: Michigan State -1.5

11/17/10

If the Michigan Wolverines are somehow able to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes, it would give the Michigan State Spartans a chance to take top honors in the Big Ten. As it stands, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin are all tied at the top of the conference with 1 loss each. The Bucks losing would help Michigan State because they own the tiebreaker with Wisconsin. Even if that happens they will still have to get through Joe Paterno's 7-4 Penn State Nittany Lions. They started the season poorly, but have won 4 of their last 5. This Big Ten game promises to be fun to watch as the Nittany Lions look to send their season off winners in their final home game and the Spartans seek to stay alive for the Rose Bowl.

Penn State has been tabbed as a 2 point underdog for this game. At this point in time 55% of the action is on the Spartans compared to 45% for the Nittany Lions. The Spartans are averaging 31.6 PPG compared to 24.8 for Penn State. The defense of Michigan State is giving up 19.9 PPG compared to 22.1 for Penn State. Both teams are 5-5 ATS in 2010.

The Spartans will be without William Gholston who was making a minimal impact on defense as he nurses a shoulder injury. The Nittany Lions will be without Kicker/Punter Anthony Fera due to an appendectomy. They have gained walk on Alex Butterworth to take his place. Penn State has won the last two meetings between these school and covered in both. Overall they have 7 of the last 10.

It took 22 4th quarter points, but the Spartans escaped Purdue with a 35-31 win last week. QB Kirk Cousins showed great poise by completing 28 of 37 passes for 276 yards, 3 TDs, and an INT. He also rushed for a TD. Sophomore RB Edwin Baker did well to have 16 carries for 90 yards and a TD. Senior WR Mark Dell caught 8 passes for 102 yards and 2 TDs. CB Chris Rucker and LB Chris Norman both came up with key INTs. The Spartans may have been looking ahead to this game. The offense played fine, but HC Mark Dantonio will have to shore up the defense. That shouldn't be a problem as they rank 23rd nationally in Points Against at 19.9 PPG. 

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The Nittany Lions were last seen putting together a good 41-24 win over lowly Indiana. QB Matt McGloin looked like a stud passing for 315 yards and 2 TDs. Senior RB Evan Royster carried the ball 16 times for 48 yards and a TD, but it was freshman Silas Redd that stole the show with 9 carries for 50 yards and a TD. Penn State was extremely effective on third down, converting 11 of 17 attempts. The offense operated like a well oiled machine. Junior S Drew Astorino recorded his 4th INT of the year. Their task will be harder this week, but Penn State is a perfect example of a team that is getting good as the season goes on. With JoePa running the show they are dangerous.

The Penn State defense has been far from spectacular, but they are 40th nationally in Points Against at 22.1 PPG. They own 7 sacks in their last 3 games. They are failing in most cases to come up with turnovers. They are pretty strong against the pass and they is good as QB Kirk Cousins present a tough challenge. If they can have a good day against the run that would go along way towards helping them close out the regular season on a winning note.

From a statistical standpoint, you could say the line is accurate. We actually make the game a pick em. However, one thing stands out when you look at each teams dance card from the past season. Penn State has fallen flat against every good team they have played. They were soundly beaten by Alabama, Iowa, Illinois and Ohio State. While Michigan State may have had an easier schedule, they lined them all up and knocked them all down, including Wisconsin and Illinois with their one bad game coming against Iowa in a 37-6 route.

With that in mind, we're going to side with Michigan State here as they finish up their best regular season in many years. Michigan State -1.5




 

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