This showdown goes down on Saturday, December 30. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will host the bowl game. Given the two teams and the hosting city, expect this game to be one of the "barn burners" of the college football bowl season. Here's what to expect and how to bet it all:
2021 Peach Bowl Preview
Before we get to "into the weeds" about how the top online sportsbooks are even pegging the game, let's preview the 2021 Peach Bowl from a regular football lens. With an 11-2 mark, Pittsburgh won the ACC, finally dethroning Clemson after a six-year stay atop the standings for the Tigers. Michigan went 10-2, which placed them in second in the Big 10 East division. Both teams overachieved from their initial preseason expectations.
The sky appeared to be falling in Lansing this time last year. In year one of Mel Tucker's reign atop the program, the Spartans went 2-5 in a pandemic-affected season. But fueled behind a Heisman Trophy-caliber season from running back Kenneth Walker, the program once again appears to be on the up and up. It was responsible for the lone loss of Michigan's season, too.
Pittsburgh had never won an ACC title up until last week. In fact, this conference title was only its third in history. Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi even has ties with Michigan State. He was the defensive coordinator there under Mark Dantonio for seven long years before taking the Pitt job in 2015. Dantonio has even appeared at Panthers' practice following his exit from Michigan State, which makes this meeting all the more intriguing.
Over/Under 60 Points: Pittsburgh vs. Michigan State
|Over 60 Points||-110||-110|
|Under 60 Points||-110||-110|
The best bookmakers for football betting are all in agreement: points should fly off the board in the Peach Bowl. At 60 points, this bowl game has one of the highest over/unders of the whole postseason — and it seems warranted at first glance.
Pitt averaged 43 points per game this season. Michigan State, while not as prolific, still put up 31 points on average. But here's the thing: the Spartans will have the best offensive player out of anybody come the Peach Bowl. Of course, we're talking about the aforementioned Walker. The tailback tallied 1,646 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground this season.
Michigan State lived and died from Walker's effort this year. In its statement win over rival Michigan, Walker went off for 197 yards and five touchdowns. In the Spartan's 49-point loss to the Ohio State, the running back was bottled up to 25 yards rushing. The question is, what spectrum will Pittsburgh fall between those two extremes?
Our gut feeling says closer to Ohio State than Michigan. Yes, we have a feeling Walker will struggle to get going against the Panthers. That's because Pitt had the eighth-stingiest rush defenses in the nation during the season. It allowed an average of 91.8 yards per game in 2021, which is scary good.
With Walker unable to rack up yards, the Spartans will struggle to score mightily. Therefore, we're going against the grain and predicting the Peach Bowl will go under 60 points.
Against The Spread: Pittsburgh vs. Michigan State
|Michigan State spread (-1.5)||-120||-110|
We hinted at what way we're betting the Pittsburgh-Michigan State against the spread line in our previous pick. We're not kidding when we said the Spartans "live and die" from Walker's production. And we're not kidding when we say Pitt has the talent on the defensive end to contain the prolific rusher. But can the Panthers' own offense seize the opportunity?
Oh, you betcha. Ya see, Pittsburgh has two future NFL players on its offense too. One is quarterback Kenny Picket, who improved his NFL draft stock massively by returning for his senior season. Picket tossed 42 touchdowns this year, surpassing Deshaun Watson's previous single-season ACC record (41). On the receiving end of 17 of those scores was Jordan Addison, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award given to the nation's top pass-catcher.
Our money is backing Pitt in this game. They are balanced perfectly on both sides of the football, which should vaunt them ahead of Michigan State despite being underdogs. Take the Pitt spread, and heck, the moneyline while you're at it too.
How To Bet NCAA Peach Bowl?
By picking Pitt, we've effectively put our "money where our mouth is" — are you ready to do the same? To bet the NCAA Peach Bowl, you can't go wrong with one of the bookmakers listed underneath. You can even cash in a sign-up bonus for free play at these sites, which would make this bet "on the house" no matter what direction you side. Explore the table below for more information on betting and what bonuses are currently available.