A defensive struggle should be expected when the No. 5 Michigan State Spartans (20-3, 8-2 Big 10) and the Penn State Nittany Lions (15-8, 5-5 Big 10) battle at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Michigan State opened as a 13-point favorite, while the games Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 143.5 points. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 31, 2018.
Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan State Spartans ATS Preview
The Nittany Lions beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in their last outing, 60-43. With 15 points and 19 rebounds, Mike Watkins put together a good performance for Penn State. Penn State played a nearly flawless game. They had an offensive rebounding percentage of 26.5 (below their season average of 31.7) and an effective field goal percentage of 0.482 (below their season average of 0.532). Rutgers put up marks of 5.7 and 0.353, respectively, for those same stats.
The last time the Spartans played, they topped the Maryland Terrapins, 74-68. Jaren Jackson Jr. had a good game for Michigan State, contributing 12 points and eight rebounds. The Spartans, who came into the game averaging an offensive rebounding percentage of 38.4, had an extraordinary mark of 48.7, while the Terrapins had a free throw rate of 0.232 (below their season average of 0.308).
This showdown pits one of the nations top offenses against one of its elite defenses. Michigan State currently ranks sixth in offensive efficiency and Penn State ranks 27th in defensive efficiency.
Of Penn State’s 19 games with betting action, 11 have finished under the projected point total, while 11 of Michigan State’s 21 games have finished over the projected point total. Looking at straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records, the Spartans have a sizable advantage. They are 20-3 SU and 13-9-1 ATS, while the Nittany Lions are 15-8 SU and 9-9-1 ATS.
Jackson Jr. has been playing at a high level over the last five games for Michigan State, averaging 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per game.
This is the first time these teams will go head-to-head this year. Each won one of the two games played against each other last season. In the most recent game, the Spartans won 78-51. Michigan State had a much better effective field goal percentage (0.579 vs. 0.327). Penn State, meanwhile, did an excellent job of converting from the free throw line (15-19; 78.9 percent).
Penn State Nittany Lions at Michigan State Spartans Prediction
Basketball Pick: SU Winner – Michigan State, ATS Winner – Penn State, O/U – Over
- The Spartans rank first in blocks per game (8.0) while the Nittany Lions rank 105th in blocks allowed per game (3.5).
- Michigan State ranks fourth in rebounds per game (42.2) while Penn State ranks 106th (36.8).
- Michigan State is 9-5 ATS at home, while Penn State is 3-5-1 ATS on the road.
- The total has gone over in 8 of the Spartans 14 home games, while 5 of the Nittany Lions 9 road games have gone over.
- Penn State ranks 32nd in steals per game (7.8) while Michigan State ranks 222nd (4.5).
- The Nittany Lions rank 29th in three pointers allowed per game (18.7) while the Spartans rank 163rd (22.5).
- Michigan State ranks first in assists per game (20.5) while Penn State ranks 122nd (14.2).
- Michigan State is 2-2-1 ATS with 2 overs, 2 unders and 1 push in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Penn State is 2-3 ATS with 3 overs and 2 unders.
- The Spartans average margin of victory in their last five games has been 10.4, down from 20.2 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Nittany Lions have scored an average of 72.6 points per game (3.7 below their season average) and allowed an average of 72.2 points per game (5.4 above their season average).