Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara signals at the line of scrimmage against Northern Illinois in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
- Penn State is a half-point home favorite to No. 6 Michigan at noon ET Saturday
- Michigan is 8-1 straight up, 7-2 ATS this season; Penn State has won 3 of the last 4 meetings
- See the odds, preview and betting lean on the game by scrolling below
Penn State (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten East) is a 0.5-point favorite at home against No. 6 Michigan at noon ET Saturday on ABC. The Nittany Lions have lost three of the last four after opening the season 5-0.
Michigan (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten East) recovered from a 37-33 loss at Michigan State with a 29-7 victory at Indiana last week, although No. 1 running back Blake Corum left in the first quarter with a lower leg injury and quarterback Cade McNamara required medical attention.
Michigan vs Penn State Odds
|Michigan Wolverines||-110||+0.5 (-110)||Over 48.5 (-110)|
|Penn State Nittany Lions||-110||-0.5 (-110)||Under 48.5 (-110)|
Odds from FanDuel on Nov. 9th
Michigan is one game behind No. 4 Ohio State (8-0, 6-1) in the East and cannot afford a second loss to remain a viable contender to make the league championship game after falling to No. 7 Michigan State (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten East) two weeks ago.
If you like this game, shop around. Michigan is a 1-point favorite elsewhere in the sportsbook universe.
Both Teams Bounced Back
Penn State broke a three-game losing streak with a late 31-14 victory at Maryland, when Sean Clifford threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns and Jahan Dotson had 11 receptions for a school-record 242 yards.
Dotson caught all three scores, of 31, 28 and 86 yards, and the 86-yard connection with 13:55 to play came two plays after Maryland tied the game 14, threatening to extend the Nittany Lions’ losing streak to four.
It was not all gravy. Penn State gave up 371 passing yards and despite a 2-0 turnover edge did not put the game away until Ji’Ayr Brown’s 87-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:39 left.
The Wolverines turned to Hassan Haskins, their No. 2 running back, after Blake Corum had one carry in the 29-7 victory over Indiana. Haskins rushed for a career-high 168 yards on 27 carries, tying a career high.
Corum was dressed in street clothes and wearing a walking boot on the sideline in the second half. Quarterback McNamara and tight end Erick All also received treatment against the Hoosiers, and their status for the Penn State game is unknown.
McNamara was 10 of 18 for 168 yards and two touchdowns at Indiana but ceded playing time to J.J. McCarthy. McNamara passed for a career high 383 yards the week before against Michigan State.
2022 CFP National Championship Odds Tracker
Strength vs Strength
Penn State coach James Franklin has said the game plan is to get the ball to Dotson, their most dangerous weapon, and the Nittany Lions have made that happen bigly the last two weeks.
After being effectively bottled up against Iowa and Illinois, Dotson, a 5’11, 184-pound senior, has 11 catches in each of the last two games for 371 total yards. He leads the Big Ten and is tied for sixth in the FBS with 71 receptions.
On the other side, the Wolverines rank No. 8 in the FBS in pass defense, giving up an average of 173.4 yards per game. They are sixth in total defense, at 198.1 yards per game despite giving up 395 yards to Michigan State. They have 20 sacks.
The Nittany Lions’ losing streak began when Clifford was knocked out in the middle of the second quarter of a 23-20 loss at Iowa with an undisclosed injury, and he was less than 100 percent in a 20-18, NCAA-record nine-overtime upset home loss Illinois the following week.
With help from Dotson, Clifford has thrown for 724 yards the last two weeks.
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By the Numbers
Penn State is 5-1 straight up and 4-2 ATS as a favorite this season, although this line barely qualifies. The Wolverines are 1-0 as a road underdog, easily covering the two-point number in a 38-17 victory at Wisconsin. Penn State also covered as a 5.5-point dog at Wisconsin, winning 16-10 in the season opener.
Michigan is 4-3 straight up and 5-2 ATS in the last seven in the series. They are 2-1 ATS in the last three and 2-4 ATS in their last six in Happy Valley. The Wolverines covered the 3.5 number in a 28-16 victory at Penn State in 2015, the last time they were a road favorite in the series.
The pick: Michigan +0.5 (-110).
Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.