Penn State vs. Michigan State Prediction and Odds for Thursday, Jan. 4

Dec 29, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0)
Dec 29, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions guard Kanye Clary (0) / Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State struggled in non-conference play, losing five straight through late November, but is on the upswing as Big Ten play picks up, winning three of four.

The Nittany Lions are in East Lansing to take on Michigan State, who has been underachieving all season relative to its numbers and preseason expectations. However, Michigan State is laying a big number at home, will it show it can take care of business as a double-digit favorite?

Here are the odds, trends and our best bet for Penn State vs. Michigan State.

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Penn State vs. Michigan State Odds, Spread and Total

Michigan State vs. Penn State Betting Trends

  • Penn State is 5-8 against the spread (ATS) this season
  • Michigan State is 7-6 ATS this season
  • Penn State is 2-2 ATS as an underdog
  • Michigan State is 6-4 ATS as a favorite
  • Penn State has gone OVER in all four games as an underdog

Penn State vs. Michigan State How to Watch

  • Date: Thursday, January 4th
  • Game Time: 7:00 PM EST
  • Venue: Jack Breslin Students Events Center
  • How to Watch (TV): Peacock
  • Penn State Record: 7-6
  • Michigan State Record: 8-5

Penn State vs. MIchigan State Key Players to Watch

Penn State

Ace Baldwin: The VCU transfer guard has struggled from beyond the arc with his new team, but is still a huge addition to the team. He is shooting below 30% from the three-point line, but is getting to the line at a high clip and dishing out assists at a high rate (25% assist rate). He will draw a stiff assignment in Tyson Walker in what should be a high-level matchup.

Michigan State

Tyson Walker: Walker is taking 35% of Sparty's shots this season, and while his efficiency has dipped a little bit, he is up to 20 points per game while still shooting a healthy 37% from deep. Can he lift the Spartans up in Big Ten play with a home win as a double-digit favorite?

Penn State vs. Michigan State Prediction and Pick

Penn State has implemented Mike Rhoades' scheme from VCU, playing fast and aggressive basketball, which is a bit foreign to the Big Ten ranks. I believe the team can put a scare into Sparty, who plays incredibly slow this season and hasn't proven to be an explosive offense from the perimeter.

Michigan State has plenty of weapons on offense to handle the ball, but Penn State is ninth in turnover percentage, a defense that the Spartans haven't seen this season. Further, Penn State is due to some three-point regression from its poor 32% mark as a team (229th) this season. The Nittany Lions are owed about a 2% increase in three-point shooting, per ShotQuality.

I'm not going to call for an outright upset, but I like Penn State to hang around in this game given its defense and also with Michigan State's inability to put a team away at the free throw line (69% as a team).

Take the points in this Big Ten showdown.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Track Reed's bets here!