Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan State Spartans Betting Preview

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

When Michigan State hosts Penn State on Tuesday night, two of the Big 10’s top offenses will face-off in a matchup that features major conference title implications. The Spartans are once again in the running for a Big 10 crown, while the Nittany Lions have overachieved based on preseason expectations at 6-4 in a deep conference. Penn State has beaten the Spartans just once since 2011, and hasn’t won in East Lansing since 2009. While history certainly isn’t on the Nittany Lions side, Penn State has proven it can play with just about anyone this season.

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Spartans Hope to Remain Atop Big 10

Michigan State features one of the country’s top offensive attacks, averaging 76.5 points per game, good for third in the Big 10. The offense has been an issue in losing efforts, however, with the Spartans putting up an average of just 61.8 points in their six losses. Fortunately, Tom Izzo’s bunch is also staunch on the defensive end, allowing only 62.6 points on the year, which ranks sixth in the defensive-minded Big 10 conference. The Spartans are also absolutely dominant on the boards, ranking 5th in the nation with 41.73 rebounds per game courtesy of a bruising frontcourt.


While Michigan State has run into its fair share of troubles in road and neutral site contests, the Spartans hold a 10-1 record at the Breslin Center so far this season, including 6-0 in Big 10 home contests. The Spartans are led by two dominant upper classmen in senior Cassius Winston and junior Xavier Tillman. Winston’s 18.2 points and 5.7 assists per game both lead Michigan State and rank near the top of the Big 10. Shutting down Michigan State’s senior lead has proven difficult to do, with Winston crossing the 20-point threshold on 11 separate occasions this season. With Michigan State currently atop the Big 10 and holding the tiebreaker against Illinois, look for the Spartans to come out motivated against a tough opponent.

Nittany Lions Looking for Fifth Straight Win

Since struggling through a three-game losing streak in early January, the Nittany Lions have pieced together four consecutive victories in Big 10 play. Penn State’s offense has a slight upper hand on its foes from East Lansing, putting up 76.9 points per game on the year. The Nittany Lions don’t have quite as much dominance on defense, however ranking near the middle of the country with an average of 66.7 points allowed per game.

One area where Penn State has struggled mightily has been from beyond the arc, where the Nittany Lions are shooting just 32.0% on the season, ranking in the bottom half of the Big 10. With only a pair of double-digit scorers on the roster, the Nittany Lions have become a bit one-dimensional on that end of the floor at times. Senior Lamar Stevens has been dominant for Penn State, putting up 16.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game this season. Stevens has been amongst the most consistent players in the country, scoring in double figures in each game this season with four double-doubles to his credit. Look for Michigan State to double-team Stevens every chance they get in an effort to put the pressure on some of the peripheral Nittany Lions players who enter the game less heralded than their senior leader.

With two strong offensive attacks facing off on Tuesday night, the spread seems a bit too large to justify. Michigan State has been nearly unbeatable at home this season, but the Nittany Lions only have one loss by more than 11 points this season. I’m still siding with Michigan State to get it done at the Breslin Center, but look for the high-scoring Penn State offense to keep this one interesting late into the second half.

 Take Penn State +8.5 at www.A1PPH.com; our favorite pay per head bookie site.

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