Michigan State vs Pittsburgh Live: Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi faces his former team when the No. 13 Pitt Panthers square off against the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans in the 2021 Peach Bowl on Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The 55-year-old Narduzzi served as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator from 2007-14, helping the Spartans to a pair of top five finishes during that span. Since 2015,
Narduzzi has gone 53-36 as coach at Pitt. This season the Panthers (11-2) won the ACC title, the program’s first outright conference title. They won’t have star quarterback Kenny Pickett, however, after he opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. Meanwhile the Spartans (10-2) finished third in the East division of the Big Ten behind Michigan and Ohio State.
The Peach Bowl was lined up to give college football fans one of only two bowl games to feature multiple top-10 2021 Heisman Trophy finishers.Pickett finished the 2021 season with the fifth-most passing yards among FBS players with 4,319 and the third-most passing touchdowns at 42. He only had seven interceptions and finished the year with a 67.2 completion percentage. Pickett also rushed 97 times for 241 yards and five touchdowns.
Walker had a similarly dominant campaign in the Spartan backfield. He had the second-most rushing yards among FBS players at 1,636 on 263 carries. His 18 rushing touchdowns were the eighth-most. Walker also caught 13 passes for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Sporting News currently has Pickett listed as the No. 21 NFL draft prospect in the 2022 class and Walker listed at No. 46. Pickett is the second-highest ranked quarterback, while Walker is the highest-rated running back.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett finished third in the voting after leading the Panthers to an 11-2 finish and an ACC title. Following the end of the season, the Panthers were pitted against Michigan State, which finished the season 10-2, largely due to the production of star running back Kenneth Walker III.
Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET. The Spartans are 3.5-point favorites in the latest Michigan State vs. Pitt odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is 55.5. Before making any Pittsburgh vs. Michigan State picks or Peach Bowl 2021 predictions, you need to see what the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters the third week of the 2021-22 college football bowl season on a 43-30 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now the model has dialed in on Michigan State vs. Pitt and revealed its coveted picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see all of the model’s college football picks. Here are the college football odds and betting lines for Pitt vs. Michigan State: Michigan State has an efficient quarterback in Payton Thorne. In his first season as the starter, Thorne ranks second in the Big Ten and 19th in the country in passing yards per completion (14.01). He also ranks second in the conference and 25th in the nation in passing touchdowns (24) and needs one more passing score to tie the program record set by Kirk Cousins in 2011.
In addition, Thorne faces a Pitt defense that struggled against the pass this season. The Panthers gave up 257.4 passing yards per game, which ranked 12th in the 14-team ACC and 105th in the nation. Four times this season the defense allowed at least 357 passing yards in a game.
Why Pittsburgh can cover
Though the Panthers are missing a huge piece in Pickett, Pitt faces a Michigan State team that will be without its best player, running back Kenneth Walker III. A transfer from Wake Forest, Walker ranks second in the country in rushing yards per game (136.3) and seventh in total touchdowns (19). For his efforts this season, he won the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and was a unanimous first-team all-America selection.
In addition, the Panthers face a Michigan State defense that has struggled this season. The Spartans ranked last in the Big Ten and 117th in the country in total defense (455.9 yards per game). They especially struggled against the pass, giving up 337.7 yards per game through the air, the most in the nation.
How to make Michigan State vs. Pittsburgh picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the point total, projecting the teams to combine for 45 points. It also has an against-the-spread pick that cashes in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can see the model’s picks