Week 8 College Football Picks: Michigan at Penn State
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Week 8 of the college football season is upon us and the College GameDay crew is headed to State College, PA to preview the matchup between No. 16 Michigan and No. 7 Penn State. Two top 25 programs meeting under the lights on a Saturday night in one of the more historic venues college football has to offer. What more could you ask for? Let’s dive into the details and take a look at some of the betting odds and Week 8 college football picks for Michigan at Penn State.
Week 8 College Football Odds — Michigan vs. Penn State
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Opening Spread: Penn State -7.5, per William Hill
Opening Total: 45.5
Current Spread: Penn State -9
Current Total: 47
71% of bets are on Penn State and 68% of bets are on the Over, per VegasInsider.com
The 6-0 Nittany Lions come into the game as a 9-point favorite across online sports betting sites and rightfully so. This has all the makings for another drubbing of a Jim Harbaugh lead team at the hands of a top 10 opponent. Since Harbaugh took over the program in 2015, the Wolverines are 1-9 against top 10 foes and most of the games haven’t even been close.
This year’s Michigan team looks like the most underachieving team Harbaugh has had to date, or the most overrated however you want to spin it. Every year his teams dominate the weak links on the schedule and then struggle when it’s time to play the big boys. This year it’s been a struggle for them to even put away some of the weaker teams. They almost let Army walk into the Big House and upset them before clawing their way to a 3 point double OT win in week 2. Last week, they almost looked good jumping out to a 28-0 lead against the 2-4 Fighting Illini, and then proceeded to let them score 25 unanswered points to actually make it a ball game. Michigan would tack on two more touchdowns in the 4th quarter to make the win a little more convincing on the scoreboard, but anybody that watched the game knows Illinois gave them all they could handle.
Harbaugh’s teams traditionally pride themselves on their rushing attack and defense, but their rushing attack is currently 8th in the Big Ten at 156.2 yards a game. The defense has performed well for the most part although they haven’t faced many offenses one would deem explosive. The one explosive offense they have faced this season was Wisconsin who tallied up 487 yards of total offense with 359 of them coming on the ground.
They have their hands full on Saturday night with a Penn State squad that comes in with the 9th best scoring offense in the country at 42 points per game. Wide Receiver KJ Hamler is as dynamic as anyone in college football and has scored in each of their last three games. He will be tough to handle for Michigan’s secondary especially if top cornerback Lavert Hill is unable to play due to injury. Sophomore Quarterback Sean Clifford plays the position with a swagger and moxie that reminds a lot of people in State College of Trace McSorley, the standout from a year ago who now plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
The Nittany Lions are the more explosive team. They are the better team. They have home field advantage. It’s going to be a white out in Happy Valley and you can bet the stadium will be electric and the atmosphere will be intimidating. This is a chance to prove that they are a legit contender in the Big Ten and the top rival to Ohio State for the right to represent the East division in the conference championship game. All signs point to a blowout.
Week 8 College Football Picks — Michigan vs. Penn State
Again, I want to reiterate that Jim Harbaugh has faced ten top 10 teams during his tenure at Michigan. He’s won one game. 14-7 against Wisconsin in 2016. Of the nine losses, seven have been by two or more touchdowns. I’m laying the points and I’m taking the Nittany Lions -9 (-110).
The point total for this game is set at 47. Many people like the under because Michigan’s defense is talented, and Penn St. just struggled with a talented Iowa defense a week ago. I think last week’s matchup benefits Penn St. because Iowa plays such a similar style to Michigan. Also, the home crowd may give the offense the juice they need to be more explosive this week. I can see the Nittany Lions putting up 30-35 points in this game. If Michigan can manage to keep up a little bit, I like the over in this game at -110. I think a 35-24 final score is certainly within reason.
For more general betting tips, check out our college football picks betting guide.
College Football Picks: Penn State -9; Over 47
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images