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Free Pick Breakdown & Prediction: Penn St vs. Michigan (10/15)

By Michael Savio
October 14, 2022
Photo by: Randy Litzinger - Icon Sportswire

#10 Penn State Nittany Lions at #5 Michigan Wolverines (10/15 @ 12:00 PM EST)

Line: Michigan -7
Total: 51.5

Penn State vs. Michigan Breakdown and Betting Odds

In one of the most anticipated games of the weekend, we find the Penn State Nittany Lions coming to visit the Michigan Wolverines in a matchup of two top-ten teams. Both teams come in undefeated but have seen weak schedules thus far. Michigan is favored by seven points, with the over/under set at 51.5.

Michigan has yet to hit the over this year, going under five times and pushing once. Michigan is 5-12 against the spread against top 10 teams since coach Jim Harbaugh was hired. Since James Franklins has been at Penn State, the Lions are 2-6 against the spread when playing Michigan. They were underdogs in five of those six losses.

Michigan is 3-3 against the spread this season, while Penn State sits at 3-2.

Penn State Overview

The Nittany Lions will be looking to continue their battle for the Big 10 East with a matchup with division-rival Michigan Saturday. They are 5-0 on the season and are coming off an ugly (albeit rainy) win against Northwestern.

The Lions are led by senior quarterback Sean Clifford, who is off to a solid start to the year with thirteen total touchdowns. He’s been one of the best in the country in the red zone and can use his legs to make big plays. While he’s had a great season, Clifford has struggled against Michigan through the air the last two seasons. This is a better Penn State team with better weapons, giving the senior a chance to stop the trend this year.

The backfield is led by the talented duo Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton. They’ve combined for eight touchdowns and almost 800 yards on the ground. They’ll be tested this weekend as they face a Michigan defense giving up less than 82 rushing yards per game. It’s hard to imagine the Wolverines can keep that going this week, but the duo will undoubtedly be facing their toughest test.

On defense, Penn State is one of the best in the country. They’re the fifth-best run defense in FBS and surrender less than 80 rushing yards per game. Senior safety Ji’ayir Brown has made life difficult for quarterbacks all year and leads an aggressive Lions secondary that had two weeks off to prepare for this game.

Michigan Overview

The 6-0 Wolverines will return home Saturday after two dominating conference road wins at Iowa and Indiana. Like Penn State, Michigan has yet to be tested by its schedule.

Former top recruit J.J. McCarthy helms a deadly Michigan passing attack, who is coming off his best game of the year (304 yards, 3 TDs, 77% completion). The sophomore leads the country in completion rate (78%) and has just one interception, making him one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the country. He’s athletic and incredibly effective when scrambling outside the pocket. The Wolverines surrounded him with a stellar offensive line and loaded receiving core, allowing them to use more four and five-receiver sets.

Michigan’s backfield is a one-man show with junior Blake Corum, who already has 118 carries. He’s rushed for 500 yards over his last three games, including 243 against Maryland. Corum is handling 25+ carries a game and combines with McCarthy to make the Wolverine’s play-action the most dangerous in the country.

On defense, Michigan is elite. They’re allowing just 247 yards and eleven points per game. They’re seemingly getting better as the season continues, with fourteen sacks over their last three games alone (all against Big 10 opponents). Senior Linebacker Mike Morris leads the team with five sacks, but he’s not alone, as fourteen Michigan players have registered at least 0.5 on the season.

TakingVegas.com 1* Pick: Michigan -7

We’ve seen the Lions struggle to get wins against lesser teams in their first two Big 10 games, which sends up some red flags coming into this week. As impressive as their secondary is, Michigan’s play-action will limit their aggressiveness. Add that to the fact that Ann Arbor is one of the most significant home-field advantages in the county, and you have a recipe for a Wolverine win. Give up the points to take Michigan and tune in at noon on Fox on Saturday for what should be a great game.

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