No. 10 Michigan State meets No. 12 Pitt in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on December 30.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The match will be televised on ESPN.
Pitt (11-2) won the ACC championship under coach Pat Narduzzi this season. However, The Panthers will not feature Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett. The Pitt quarterback has chosen not to participate in the bowl match to prepare for the 2022 NFL Draft. That will have a significant impact on the attack that averages 43 points per game.
Michigan State (10-2) made an impressive turnaround under sophomore coach Mel Tucker. The Spartans, however, will not have Kenneth Walker III, the Doak Walker Prize winner. The Rerun Highlight also opted out of the Peach Bowl.
Make the case that the playoff extension is all you want knowing two of college football’s biggest stars are sitting out the New Year’s Day standings. That makes this match even more unpredictable.
With that in mind, here’s what you should know about betting on a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl match between the Panthers and Sparta:
Michigan State vs. Pitt
- Spread: Michigan State -2.5
- On lower: 57
- Cash flow: Michigan State -144, Pitt +118
Three trends to know
– Pitt opens as a 3.5-point favorite, but the line moves more because of Pickett’s absence. This is the first time the Panthers have been left out this season.
– The Spartans have been favorites 3-5 ATS this season, but they have suffered 3-1 ATS in matches where they were prioritized by single digits. The only loss was November 6 to Purdue.
– One point game will be in favor of Michigan State. The Spartans were 4-0 S/U in deciding games by seven points or less. The Panthers have suffered 2-2 S/U in a similar situation.
Three things to see
– How does Pitt’s offense change? Pickett has raced for 4,319 yards, 42 TDs, and seven interceptions this season and set multiple records in the process. The Panthers will also be without offensive coordinator Mark Whipple, who resigned to take up the same position at Nebraska. Junior Nick Patti has had limited experience over the past three seasons, and he will be successful in finding Biletnikoff Prize winner Jordan Addison (1,479 yards, 17 TDs) against the worst defensive pass of the season. FBS (337.7 ypg.).
– Who picked up Walker? Walker takes 1,715 yards from this season’s scenario for Sparta. That’s 33.2% of the attack output. Jordan Simmons averaged 4.7 yards per take in the backup role, and the numbers show increased workload. Payton Thorne’s figure (2,886 yards, 24 TDs, 9 INTs) to show it off is more against a Pitt defense that allows for 257.4 yards of passes per game.
– Joke. Narduzzi is familiar with Michigan State. He was defensive coordinator for Sparta from 2007-14. Tucker, like Narduzzi, is an Ohio Chinese with a defensive background. Both have led impressive records this season, and neither has their star players. That means hoaxes and early breakout trends can show up in the works.
Both teams have been penalized too much this season. The Spartan ranks 112th in FBS with 66.3 penalty yards per game this season. That’s a notch above the Panthers, with an average of 66.5 penalty yards per game. With Pickett and Walker already absent, the offense is unlikely to be delayed.
Michigan State predictions vs. Pitt
Patti becomes the focus in this game. Can he keep the Panthers’ offensive behavior going if the running game fails to fend off a tough Sparta defense? Will Thorne shed light on the secondary Panthers? It’s hard to predict what will happen to the star players, but the game should be equally entertaining. The Panthers grabbed a wild win in the fourth quarter with an Addison TD catch. The Spartans’ last-minute drive was gone, and Pitt claimed his first New Year’s Day win.
The last point: Pitt 30, Michigan State 27