Peach Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for Pitt vs. Michigan State

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 29, 2021

Pittsburgh wide receiver Jordan Addison, left, celebrates with tight end Lucas Krull after scoring a touchdown against Syracuse during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

The dynamic of the Peach Bowl matchup between the Pittsburgh Panthers and Michigan State Spartans changed between the time it was announced and Thursday's kickoff. 

Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett and Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III, both of whom were in the mix for the Heisman Trophy, opted out of the New Year's Six game inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Pitt could be better suited to deal with its key absence than its Big Ten counterpart because it still has Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Allison on the field. 

Allison will provide a ton of help to Nick Patti in Pitt's attempt to break down a weak Michigan State passing defense. 

Michigan State's list of replacements for Walker may not have as much of an impact on the contest as Patti because of Pitt's defensive strengths against the run. 

The ACC champion boasts one of the few rushing defenses that give up under 100 yards per contest, and that could be the edge the Panthers need to win. 


Peach Bowl Info

Date: Thursday, December 30

Start Time: 7 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN app and ESPN.com.


Game Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Michigan State (-3) 

Over/Under: 56.5

Money Line: Michigan State (-140; bet $140 to win $100); Pittsburgh (+120; bet $100 to win $120) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Trust Pitt's Passing Attack Without Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh's passing offense unit is not completely bare. 

Nick Patti has a 1,400-yard receiver in Jordan Addison to ease him into the offense in Atlanta. 

Addison caught 33 passes in the last three games, and he found the end zone on 17 occasions in the regular season. 

Addison has an ideal matchup for a wide receiver against one of the worst passing defenses in the FBS. Michigan State gives up 337.7 passing yards per game. 

The best example of the Spartans' inability to stop the pass came in their loss to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State put up 56 points and 449 passing yards back on November 20. 

Michigan State had a full month to work on its ineffectiveness through the air, but the matchup against Addison is a tough one for even the best defensive back units. 

Addison should receive a high number of targets right away from his new quarterback, and that should make him one of the best individual daily fantasy football players on the Thursday slate. 


Be Hesitant with Kenneth Walker III's Replacements

Michigan State was going to face a tough matchup on the ground even if Walker was playing in Atlanta. 

Pittsburgh is one of eight FBS teams to hold opponents under 100 rushing yards per game. Five of those teams, including the Panthers, played in conference championship games. 

Pat Narduzzi's team held the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to 82 rushing yards in the ACC Championship Game, and a similar result could be in store for Michigan State without Walker. 

Michigan State will turn to a group of running backs with very little production. None of the players left on the roster had more than 300 rushing yards or four touchdowns. 

Quarterback Payton Thorne accounted for four scores on the ground, while the three running backs behind Walker on the stat chart failed to find the end zone at all. 

That could cause a ton of trouble for the Spartans in their attempt to counter Pittsburgh with a strong rushing attack. 

With that in mind, Thorne is the only Michigan State player to trust for rushing yards. He had 177 rushing yards to go along with his 2,886 passing yards, and he could scamper over the goal line in some short-yardage red-zone situations. 


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