Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Penn St +170 over Michigan
Beaver Stadium – State College, PA
12:00 PM EST. Sometimes a zig-zag can materialize over the course of a season as opposed to traditionally taking shape on a week-to-week basis. The Nittany Lions serve as a great case study to that strategy.
In the buildup to PSU’s collision with Ohio State in Columbus in late October, the market sentiment was to categorically place the Buckeyes on upset alert. Penn State, priced in a similar range as it is here, rode into The Shoe with a 12-0-1 record against the spread, winning 11 straight matches outright overall. Meanwhile, Ohio State was described as an atypical iteration of itself that appeared vulnerable and beatable. The Buckeyes would go on to smother the Nittany Lions in a 20-12 victory where the score was not indicative of Ohio State’s dominance in the contest.
The Buckeyes would hold the Nittany Lions to a historically bad 6.3% third-down conversion rate (one successful conversion in 16 attempts) which was the third worst mark by an AP-ranked top-10 team in the last decade. From there, Ohio State’s stock would soar, as they now sit as the top-team in the College Football Playoff poll while Penn State has once again been cast as “the bridegroom” of the B1G East, a team that cannot win the big game. Furthermore, James Franklin is being discussed as one of the most overrated coaches in college football. The market’s reaction to losing money on Penn State in a big game is 100% influencing their perception here in another “big game” for Penn State. How does that saying go, “Burn me once, shame on you, burn me twice, shame on me”.
Michigan has garnered a tremendous amount of media hype and public adoration despite the ongoing sign-stealing investigation pending against the Wolverines. Some have been vehement that the Wolverines should be the top-team in the College Football Playoff poll, as they are argued to be the most complete team in America. As contrarian bettors among other criteria, we see this as a prime opportunity to get behind the Nittany Lions. After all, the distractions surrounding this program are plenty and this couldn’t come at a worse time for Michigan, as they are stepping into a notoriously hostile environment against a team hungry to prove that they are not one of 2023’s biggest Paper Lions. Moreover, this will be the first true test for the Wolverines this year, as they have feasted on the cupcake buffet up until this point.
In Michigan’s nine wins, they have defeated the following: East Carolina (A Group of Five team, 1-8 on the year), UNLV (one of their best wins, as the Rebels are 7-2 on the year, hailing from the Mountain West), Bowling Green (A MAC team), Rutgers (big deal), Nebraska (who lost to a 2-6 Michigan State team), Michigan State (3-6), Minnesota (who blew a 20-plus point lead to lose in Double Overtime to Northwestern), Indiana (3-6), and Purdue (2-7). There is a price to pay for scheduled games against garbage and Michigan is about to pay up.
Meanwhile, Penn State has faced Ohio State (who is ranked #1 in the CFP Poll), Iowa who they steamrolled (ranked #22 presently in the College Football Playoff Poll), and a good West Virginia team, who the Nittany Lions also rolled. All of the ingredients are prime rationale to avoid the Wolverines and position PSU to pull the upset. The value here is tremendous for PSU to win outright.
Penn St +170 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.40)