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Sports news with a Vegas perspective.

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    09/07/2011 10:47 PM
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College Football Michigan State Spartans at Penn State Nittany Lions Start Time, Betting Odds, Free Pick

Michigan State Football: Why the Spartans Have the Best Defense in the Nation

The Michigan State Spartans play on the road against the Penn State Nittany Lions in college football action. The game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start time and it will be televised live on ABC or ESPN2 depending on regional coverage. Currently the odds for the game have the Spartans favored by a comfortable margin in this one. 

Michigan State won't be competing for a Big Ten title this season, but the Spartans are still in line to play in a bigtime bowl game and represent the conference well. Michigan State has really played well under Mark Dantonio, becoming one of the more powerful schools in the Midwest. 

In this matchup with the Nittany Lions, Michigan State need to come out and take care of business. The Spartans are very good on both sides of the football and should have no problems tripping up here against a Penn State team that is still in a transitional season under new head coach James Franklin. 

Michigan State will look to establish Jeremy Langford and the running game early. Sparty ranks inside the Top 20 nationally in running yards per game, piling up better than 245 per game this season. Langford has scored 17 touchdowns this season and averages 5.7 yards per carry so far. Nick Hill has been a good changeup back for the Spartans as well, scoring nine times and averaging six yards per carry. 

The run game for Michigan State has allowed the offense to really flourish, with quarterback Connor Cook running the show. He is going to have to work against a pretty decent Penn State defense, though. The Nittany Lions give up just over 16 points per game this season which ranks fifth best in the country. Penn State has won only twice the last seven games, though, picking up only a single win over Indiana in the conference during that span.

Christian Hackenburg can throw the football all over the yard, but the offense has been too inconsistent. Penn State virtually has no running game and Hackenburg can't do it all. In this one the offense is going to have to score points if the Nittany Lions have any chance. Michigan State will be able to score, has the better overall defense between the two schools and will look good doing it.

Free Pick: Michigan State 34, Penn State 20

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