Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines Betting Pick

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Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines Betting Pick

Michigan State and Michigan have met 112 times on the football field, with Michigan leading the series 71-36-5. The last two games have been won by Michigan by a combined score of 65-17. Michigan State won eight of the previous meetings from 2008-2017 and was 10-0 against the spread.

In last week’s Big Ten openers, the two teams had starkly different performances. Michigan was a three-point favorite at Minnesota but ended up shredding the Gophers 49-24. The Wolverines ran for 256 yards on only 30 rushes for an average of 8.5 yards a carry.

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Michigan State was embarrassed by Rutgers, managing just 50 yards on the ground on 39 carries. The Spartans threw two interceptions and lost five fumbles on their way to a 38-27 loss. The defense only gave up 276 yards, but primarily because of the short fields created by the turnovers.

Betting Lines

Michigan is a 25.5-point favorite over the Spartans, mainly because Rutgers is so lightly regarded. In this unusual season, it’s especially difficult to draw too many conclusions from a single game. The 13th-ranked Wolverines are also -2000 on the moneyline, while Michigan State is +950.

Those lines could change as the week goes on, especially if some money gets wagered on Michigan State. The over/under stands at 53.5, with the over paying -115 and the under -106. Remember that these teams combined for 76 points in their first game, and the average total points was 69.

Did you see our last pick? It was a Broncos at Patriots pick and prediction.

Game Preview

It’s really difficult to fully assess the performance of Michigan State in the opener because of its seven turnovers. College football is especially notorious for producing what appear to be early-season upsets that look different later on. Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is back for his second stint, and the Scarlet Knights were respectable in his first tenure.

Under head coach Jim Harbaugh, Michigan has tended to disappoint despite high expectations. The fast start against Minnesota, especially in the ground game, clearly has the attention of the oddsmakers. The big questions are, is Michigan that good and are the Spartans really that bad?

In last week’s game, the smarter bettor knows that Rutgers only managed 106 yards on the ground on 40 carries. That 2.7 yards per carry should give the Spartans some hope in trying to slow down Michigan’s running game. If they can, that point spread is going to seem very large by the end of the day.

Michigan was very efficient against Minnesota, gaining 481 yards on just 56 plays for an average of 8.6 yards. The Wolverines’ offensive line was opening huge holes against Minnesota’s defense, something that might be tougher against the Spartans.

This season in college football, it’s appeared that the offenses have been way ahead of the defenses. It looked that way in Michigan’s decimation of Minnesota last week. But Michigan State’s defense actually held its own, despite all of the giveaways to Rutgers.

That 25.5-point spread concerns me, especially if Michigan State can play defense like it did last week. I don’t think the Spartans have enough to win outright, but they should be able to cover. 

For my free NCAAF pick, the over looks like a good bet, at least early in the season, and it’s only week two.