Pittsburgh vs Michigan State
Pittsburgh +150 over Michigan State

Pinnacle +145 BET365 +150 SportInteraction +150  BetOnline +149 Bookmaker +145

Posted at 5:00 PM EST.

Pittsburgh +150 over Michigan State

Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl - Mercedes Benz Stadium - Atlanta, GA

Streaming: ESPN

7:00 PM EST. What was supposed to be a showcase of Heisman Trophy finalists will not come to pass after both Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett and Michigan State runner Kenneth Walker III both decided it was in their best interests to shut it down and wait for April’s NFL Draft. The reality is, it probably is—but for different reasons. Nobody is going to offer Walker a fat check if he tears an ACL or somebody steps on his ankle in the friggin’ Peach Bowl. And Pickett’s stock is at an all time high. No reason to take any chances on that front

A quick season overview shows on paper that the market may be justified in its love for the Spartans in this spot. Michigan State coach Mel Tucker is hollering from the hills that his program is one to be watched, “People are taking note of what we're doing here at East Lansing. The tide is turning and we're moving in the right direction”. We’ve always been of the opinion that if one has to tell you how great one is or how great others think one is, one is a douche nozzle. Oh, dude got paid (10-years, $95-million), so that should help the ego.

To be fair to coach Brooks, he’s riding high after going just 2-5 in 2020. The Spartans started 2021 8-0 but faced reality in double digit losses to Purdue (40-29) and “The Ohio State University” (56-7). The B1G is a blue blood football conference and losses there are more easily forgiven by many. That is just one reason the Spartans are getting the lion’s share of the love here. The other is that MSU whacked ACC mainstay “The U” (Miami FL) 38-17 in Miami while the Panthers lost to the Hurricanes at Pitt Stadium, 38-34. The ACC is thought of as a hoops conference first for good reason, but that does not mean that there is not good football being played there.

Market perception here is that it will be much easier for the #10 ranked Spartans (10-2) to replace Walker (with Jordon Simmons and Elijah Collins expected to lead the charge) than it will for the #12 ranked Panthers (11-2) to fill the void left by Pickett with backup Nick Patti. It has much more to do with the position than it does with the player, but that Pickett is also arguably the top pivot heading into the draft, his ditching out on this game is perceived to be much more impactful. We’re not saying dude isn’t valuable to his team, but let’s pump the breaks for a minute.

No offense to Kenny Pickett, but nobody was speaking his name as a prime NFL prospect as a junior and he had little to no hype coming into 2021. Don’t believe us? Look at the preseason Heisman odds. Dude was nowhere to be found. Nowhere. Of the 23 quarterbacks offered up by DraftKings Sportsbook, Pickett was not among them. As good as his season was, Pickett (who was third) still finished behind defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson for that Heisman. That doesn’t happen very often. For some perspective, offensive players made up the top 10 in 2020, with quarterbacks making up three of the top four and six of the top 10 overall. (Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, Kyle Trask, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson and Ian Book). That crop of quarterbacks appears to be one of the better suited for pro play in quite some time. The same cannot be said for this year’s stock. So again, no offense to Pickett, but Patti is not as big a drop off as the pundits and pick sellers would have you believe. From our perch, it appears as though Patti and the Panthers are playing with house money here.

There’s a lot to like about Nick Patti’s chances of having a real good night in Pat Narduzzi’s offense. Good Lord, look what it did for Kenny Pickett. Patti has started before, as a redshirt freshman way back in 2019, so it’s not like he’s fresh on this scene. That result, a win 17-14 matters little today, but it’s impossible to ignore that Patti has been in practice, gone to team meetings, and has lived and breathed Panthers’ football his entire college career. Dude is a redshirt junior. He ain’t a boy, no he’s a man. Dude’s going to take us to the promised land.

All we’ve read and heard about State in this spot is (we paraphrase) “At least the Spartans will have Payton Thorne behind center”. Really? Is that what we’re going on? My dudes, Payton Thorne had one job this year—hand the effin’ ball to Kenneth Walker III. Boom! That was the game plan. Is this line from the Lansing State Journal a cute one? “This Peach Bowl is the handoff — instead of Thorne to Walker, Walker to Thorne”. Yes, it is. However, it’s going to take more than that, especially when that same publication states factually, “Walker was the show — a bona fide superstar running back, who elevated this MSU football season to places most fans never imagined”. Now it’s Payton Thorne who’s been left to hold the bag. All the pressure is on the Spartans. Is that fair? Nope. Do we care? Aw, hell no. Panthers outright is the call.

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Our Pick

Pittsburgh +150 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.00)

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