Michigan State Spartans at Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday, 11/27/10, 12:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN2
Opening Point Spread: Michigan State -2
Current Betting Line: Michigan State -1.5
Opening Total: 51
Current Total: 51
Current Moneyline: Michigan State -125 / Penn State +105
Michigan State can earn at least a share of the Big Ten championship Saturday with a victory in visiting the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley. “We’ve talked a lot about leaving a legacy here in our time and we want to leave something that people will remember,” said quarterback Kirk Cousins. “We have a chance to do that Saturday.” The junior quarterback has been struggling with his accuracy lately, which has been directly contributed to an ankle injury that has been bother him for weeks. Today’s game marks the 28th meeting between the two teams, as the Spartans trail in the series, 12-14-1, including a 4-9-1 mark in games played in State College. The team is 5-1 ATS as a road favorite the past three years and the college football lines page has them favored by less than a field goal.
The Spartans have lost eight-straight games in Beaver Stadium, including a 49-18 loss on November 22, 2008. Michigan State’s last win in State College came on September 25, 1965, 23-0 in the year before Penn State head coach Joe Paterno took over the program. A trademark of Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State teams has been their ability to produce wins late in the regular season. Under Dantonio, the Spartans are 8-3 in games played in November. In the four seasons prior to his arrival, the program went just 2-11 during the month. The defense will need to come up big in this contest, ranking No. 23 in scoring defense, surrendering just 19.9 points per game, while also ranking 23rd in turnover margin.
Penn State has won four of its last five games and eighteen seniors will be playing their final game in Beaver Stadium. The Nittany Lions will also be celebrating the fact that head coach Joe Paterno has announced he’ll be coming back for the 2011 season. “We’ve struggled a bit this year, the youth and injuries and the whole bit,” he commented. “But I think with a good spring and preseason practice, we’re going to be a good football team.” He has garnered a 13-5 record against the Spartans, including a 49-18 win in 2008 to keep Michigan State from a share of the conference title on his way to the Rose Bowl. The squad is 5-5 ATS in all games this year.
The Nittany Lions will have faced four opponents that are ranked in the Top 25 of the BCS this year in taking on the No. 10 Spartans in the rankings. Penn State has a good chance of pulling off the victory knowing the program has won 19 of its last 20 Senior Day games since 1990. The lone loss came to Michigan in 1999. The recent strong play from the team is directly associated with the emergence of redshirt sophomore quarterback Matt McGloin, who threw for a career-high 315 yards in last week’s 41-24 win over Indiana. For the season, McGloin is 78 of 131 for 1,025 yards with 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Spartans are 4-4 ATS as a favorite this year, while the Nittany Lions are 3-9 ATS as an underdog.
The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports have released a 20-Unit Game of the Year in one of today’s games. Don’t miss it!