Penn State forward John Harrar (21) plays against Purdue during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
- Surging Nittany Lions look to end six-game road losing streak when they visit the rival Michigan State Spartans as betting underdogs
- The Nittany Lions have won four of six overall, while the Spartans look to tally consecutive home wins in conference play for the first time this season
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Tuesday night’s Big ten conference matchup at Jack Breslin Student Events Center
The Penn State Nittany Lions will try to snap a six-game SU losing streak on the road when they visit the struggling Michigan State Spartans on Tuesday as 2.5-point underdogs. The Nittany Lions continued their strong play on home hardwood with Friday’s 55-50 win over the Maryland Terrapins, while the Spartans aim to build on a 66-56 victory over the visiting Nebraska Cornhuskers that snapped a four-game SU losing streak.
Here’s a look at the odds and trends ahead of Tuesday night’s Big Ten conference matchup at Jack Breslin Student Events Center.
Penn State Nittany Lions vs Michigan State Spartans Odds
|Penn State Nittany Lions||+2.5 (-105)||+125||O 144.5 (-110)|
|Michigan State Spartans||-2.5 (-115)||-155||U 144.5 (-110)|
*Odds taken at BetMGM on 02/08/2021
Nittany Lions Enjoying Steady Run
Since ending a worrisome 0-5 slide, PSU has marched to victory in four of six outings, including a decisive 81-71 win over No. 14 Wisconsin as 4-point home underdogs a week ago. The Nittany Lions opened their current stretch of steady play with a 75-67 victory over Rutgers as 2.5-point home dogs, and also kept things close in an 83-79 road loss to No. 13 Ohio State as 7-point underdogs.
Penn State knocks off #14 Wisconsin 81-71
It’s Penn States first win over the Badgers since 2011
— Barstool Bench Mob (@stoolbenchmob) January 30, 2021
However, points have come at a premium in in their past two outings. PSU shooters have averaged just 55.5 points per game while shooting just 35.1% from the field during that stretch. John Harrar has emerged as the most consistent producer during that stretch. The senior forward has averaged 12.5 points scored over his past four outings, and has also tallied double-digit rebound totals in four of the past six contests.
John Harrar finished with 9 points and 12 rebounds in route to a win over Maryland.@PennStateMBB pic.twitter.com/oJRM7ICK3y
— Penn State On BTN (@PennStateOnBTN) February 6, 2021
PSU’s current scoring drought has also produced consecutive wins for sports bettors taking the UNDER in totals betting, while putting the brakes on a 6-2 run for the OVER. However, the Nittany Lions have also done a better job of keeping opposing shooters in check during their current 4-2 run. PSU has limited opponents to just 70.2 points per game, and not allowed more than 80 points during that stretch after allowing 81.2 points per game during its recent five-game losing streak.
Points At Premium For Toothless Spartans
While the Nittany Lions have shown signs of turning things around, the Spartans have continued to struggle. MSU earned a much needed victory over the last-place Cornhuskers last time out to snap a four-game slide, during which they were vastly outplayed. The lowlight of the squad’s recent swoon was a lopsided 67-37 loss to Rutgers as 3-point road underdogs two weeks ago. Overall, the Spartans averaged just 57.8 points per game over their four recent losses, dumping them to 79th in adjusted offensive efficiency at Kenpom.
After @RutgersMBB put a 67-37 beat down on @MSU_Basketball last night Spartan coach Tom Izzo said Rutgers defense deserved “some credit” for the 21 turnovers, but was more because of mich st play. @PhillyHEN was critical of the knights defense on @KingsOlde podcast, does he agree
— Rutgers Hypeman (@rutgers_hypeman) January 29, 2021
One of the bright spots for MSU during their recent losing streak was the play of Joshua Langford. The senior guard has come alive following a slow start, averaging 15.7 points per game, and cracking double-digit point totals in six of seven outings. Leading scorer Aaron Henry has also continued to contribute, racking up almost 17 points per game over his past three outings, including an impressive 24-point, nine-rebound performance in last week’s 84-78 loss to No. 8 Iowa.
Stood my ground with Aaron Henry despite the lack of shooting progress. Potentially checks a valuable mix of boxes for next level.
Hit four threes vs. Iowa, finishing with 24-9-5: pic.twitter.com/QNe2sGNW8M
— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) February 5, 2021
In addition, history is squarely on Michigan State’s side in recent meetings with the Nittany Lions. Overall, the Spartans have posted wins in 11 of 13 meetings with Penn State since 2011, covering in eight of those contests. The Spartans have been particularly dominant in head-to-head meetings on home court, going 17-2 SU in 19 clashes since 1996. However, MSU has covered just once in their past four home dates with Penn State, and came up short in a 75-70 loss as 8.5-point chalk in the Nittany Lions most recent in February 2020.
The Pick: UNDER 144.5 (-110)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.