Week 11 – Michigan at Penn St

Michigan at Penn St

Posted November 10

The Game

Here we go!

The undefeated Wolverines face their first test of the season and it’s a big one. They head to Penn St to battle the Nittany Lions who’s only loss came at the Horseshoe vs Ohio St (L 20-12). Michigan has played a ridiculously easy schedule but you have to give them credit for absolutely demolishing the opposition (270-44 total margin of victory). Penn St has also done a good job of smoking the majority of their opponents but they had a bit of a scare vs Indiana a few weeks ago.

The Details

Michigan -4.5 Penn St (45)

MEGALOCKS LINE – Michigan -4

“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Michigan 24.75 Penn St 20.25

Michigan offense vs Penn St defense

The Michigan rushing attack hasn’t been nearly as devastating as what we saw in 2022 (#5 FBS, 239 YPG; 2023 #51, 167 YPG) and whilst RB Blake Corum has booked 16 rushing TDs he hasn’t looked as explosive this season. Ditto for RB Donovan Edwards who’s averaging a paltry 3.1 YPC (7.1 LY). The good news is that QB JJ McCarthy has been fantastic spreading the ball around to his WR/TE/RB weapons (18-3 TD to INT, 76%, 10.4 YPA). We don’t expect Michigan to have much success on the ground vs the #1 run D (!) in the country but McCarthy will be able to do some damage. In the last three games Penn St has allowed 286 passing yards to Ohio St, 269 (!) to Indiana, and 283 to Maryland. Penn St has a great pass rush (38, #2 FBS) but we like McCarthy’s mobility and he’s only been sacked 11 times all year (206 attempts).

Penn St offense vs Michigan defense

The Penn St offense has been fairly BLAH this season despite QB Drew Allar posting a stellar 20-1 TD to INT mark. They’re just unable (or unwilling) to stretch the field as they’ve only booked TWO passing plays of 40+ yards all year (#121 FBS). Much like Michigan, the ground game has been a disappointment as Kaytron Allen is averaging just 4.8 YPC (LY 5.2) and Nate Singleton a mere 4.0 (LY 6.8). Michigan is also stout vs the run (#9 FBS) and they haven’t given up much vs the pass (#2 FBS pass efficiency D). Of course, they’ve played a bunch of corpses so far this season but can Allar just turn it on in a big game without many dangerous options at WR/TE? We don’t love the fact that Allar is not very mobile, and while Michigan hasn’t displayed a nasty pass rush this year (22 sacks, #7 Big Ten), it’s hard to see Penn St making too many big plays in this game. Can they consistently grind out drives? We’ll see on Saturday.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

Penn St has played the tougher schedule and you can name three opponents (WV, Ohio St, Maryland) that are better than any team the Wolverines have faced……Penn St HC James Franklin has had a difficult time beating Ohio St and Michigan over his career with the Nittany Lions and you’ve gotta prefer the Michigan coaching staff until proven otherwise…..There’s no truth to the rumor that Michigan has not only been spying on teams and stealing signs but they’ve also been spying on YOU….HC Jim Harbaugh was recently telling reporters, “We’ve put a camera in every Taco Bell between Buffalo and Phoenix so just be careful what you say about myself and Michigan football.” **

** needs fact check


Michigan has been obliterating the competition and we think their THROW GAME and McCarthy’s mobility will be the difference.


Lean – Michigan

<Note – the current line is -4.5; We’ll wait until late Friday afternoon and see if we can get a -4; If it goes to -5 we’re fine with that; Stay tuned>

UPDATE 4:10pm Friday

LEAN MICHIGAN -4 -110 <now easy to find>

‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.