No. 11 Michigan Wolverines (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) vs. No. 23 Michigan State Spartans (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS), 12:00 p.m. EST, Week 7 NCAA Football, Saturday, October 15, 2011, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich., TV: ESPN
by Badger, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Mich +3/MSU -3
Over/Under Total: 49
Bet the Wolverines/Spartans game using your credit card at an online bookie where it WILL work for depositing and where your money is SAFE as they were the 1st sportsbook on the net: Intertops.
When the 11th-ranked Michigan Wolverines travel across the state on Saturday to take on the 23rd-ranked Michigan State Spartans in Spartan Stadium they’ll have a lot more on the line than just in-state bragging rights.
The Wolverines have been one of the biggest surprises in college football thus far in the 2011 season, resurging to the cusp of the top-10 under first-year head coach Brady Hoke. A top-10 ranking is likely if the Wolverines are able to topple their rivals in East Lansing, but it won’t be easy as the Spartans are determined to get back into the Big Ten and national contender picture after stumbling a few weeks ago at Notre Dame.
Michigan nearly blew their undefeated season at Northwestern last weekend, but quarterback Denard Robinson ran for two touchdowns in the second half to erase a 10-point deficit and the Wolverines went on to score a go-away victory, 42-24.
The Spartans come into the intra-state showdown off of a bye week, following a narrow victory over Oho State, 10-7 back in week five action. While the win over the Buckeyes was certainly a nice bounce-back win for Michigan State, you can bet the Spartans will be looking to make a statement to get back in eye of the pollsters and try to erase the bad loss to Notre Dame.
The early game on Saturday’s card on ESPN opened with oddsmakers listing Michigan State as the “standard” 3-point favorites at home. So far the early money at the window has yet to move the number in either direction, but a few offshore sportsbooks have dropped it the hook to the Spartans minus -2.5.
The over/under total hasn’t opened yet at a majority of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas and on the Web, but the scant few that have are listing the total at 49 to start.
The key factor to watch in this game is how well the Michigan offense is able to move the ball against the Spartans defense.
Robinson is perhaps the most dangerous duel-threat quarterback in the college game today (1,130 yards passing – 770 yards rushing, 18 TD combined), and he runs a more “pro-style” offense this year that is averaging 457.5 yards a game (26th in NCAA) that is still a little slanted toward the run (257 ypg – 7th). The Wolverines are also coming off of probably their most efficient game on offense too, going 14-for-17 on third down versus Northwestern and amassing 541 yards on the day.
But for the first time this season the Wolverines will run into a defense that won’t just get pushed around, as the Spartans are No. 1 overall in the NCAA in total defense (173.4 ypg), 2nd in passing yards allowed (109.4 ypg) and 3rd in run defense (64 ypg) and scoring (10.2 ppg).
In a couple of the Wolverines early wins this season (Notre Dame, Northwestern) they just outscored teams when their defense couldn’t stop them, and that will likely not be an option on Saturday against the Spartans.
Michigan State also has a formidable offense of its own, led by senior quarterback Kirk Cousins (269.2 ypg passing – 34th) and the running back tandem of Le’Veon Bell and Edwin Baker (128.8 ypg rushing – 79th), the Spartans are scoring 28 points per game. Look for the Spartans to control the clock with the running game and then try and take their opportunities downfield with the Cousins-to-B.J. Cunningham combo that has clicked all season.
The Wolverine defense has only been tested once this season (gave up 31 points to Notre Dame), and they do tend to give up a lot of yardage at times (438 last week at NW, 336.5 ypg on the season), but they make up for it in the Red Zone. Michigan is only allowing 12.5 points per game, but as mentioned they have yet to really face quality opposition, but they are not the sieve defense that has plagued them during the Rich Rodriguez era with the Maize-n-Blue.
The Spartans tattooed the Wolverines in the Big House last season, 34-17, to run their winning streak over Michigan to three straight. But prior to that the Wolverines won six straight, so the rivalry is heated.
The last game in Spartan Stadium went into overtime, with the Spartans earning a tough 26-20 victory as 4-point favorites. Sparty has also covered the point spread in all three games of the win streak, but as a whole the series is an even 5-5 ATS at the window the past 10 seasons.
A few of the betting trends favor the Wolverines in this spot, since the road team is actually 6-2 ATS in the last eight head-to-head. But Michigan has been bad on the road 1-5 ATS) and terrible in Big Ten play the past few seasons (5-23 ATS), so take it with a grain of salt.
One interesting trend to keep an eye on is the Spartans following their bye week, as they are 0-4 ATS in their last four games following the off week.
The over also has several strong trends favoring it in this game, including a 6-2 mark in the Wolverines last eight Big Ten games and 9-4 as a road underdog. The over is also 5-0 for the Spartans following a bye, but with the way Michigan State is playing defense this season it’s hard to see that trend continuing.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The annual wakeup call for the Wolverines in Big Ten play arrives on Saturday. Michigan hasn’t faced an offense like Michigan State yet, and they certainly haven’t faced a defense that can stop them in their tracks. Plus, the game is in East Lansing. I’m taking Michigan State minus the 3-points here.
Editor's Picks - Each weekend our very own in-house All-American Editor makes his NCAA point spread predictions in an attempt to force fumbles, sack and intercept your bookie!
Expert College Football Picks - Free premium college foots plays against the spread from expert handicappers from around the web from week 1 through the National Championship.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We sort through it all and find out which University is getting "too many points" this week. If there was a Heisman Trophy for picking underdogs, we'd be a frontrunner. Expect a 57%+ winning percentage with these picks as we've got a keen ear for loud barking dogs.
Favorite of the Week Pick - Giving points means we start the game down. We're not a real big fan of betting college football favorites as it's similar to trading field goals for touchdowns but stick with us as we buck the odds each week, selecting the favored team with the best chance of covering the spread.
Line Movement - NCAA football lines open early in the week and often times move up or down based on wagering activity, injuries to key players and weather. We decipher whether it's square or wiseguy action and predict the point spread winner based on value.
College Football Consensus Picks - We assess the public perception each week and let them pick the winners for us as we fade their selections which provides us with many trips into our bookies endzone.
Computer Picks - We enter them into the computer and the machine makes it's picks. This is a great guide especially when betting totals! These are available after the first few weeks of the season.
Trends - Despite what you have been told or read on tout sites, the trend ain't your friend. We however turn the tables and fade the almighty trend for what should be some great profits over time.
2014 College Football Predictions - Badger gives his picks to win each major conference. At the end, he gives his prediction on who thinks will win the 2015 National Championship game.
2014 Heisman Trophy Predictions - Jameis Winston is favored to win the award at 3-1 odds but Jay says this is a sucker bet! Marcus Mariota should be a contender and ball carriers TJ Yeldon and Melvin Gordon look good as well!
2015 College Football Championship Predictions - NCAA football handicapper Jay Horne gives his picks on who he thinks will win the 2015 National Championship. Despite not liking to side with heavy favorites, he believes the Alabama Crimson Tide are unstoppable and he has high expectations for them to cash his betting ticket at season's end!
Sportsbook - Get a free $100 bet after making an initial deposit of $100 or more! Great at getting Visa cards to work for deposits.
Bovada - Boasts the highest credit card acceptance rate on the internet! HUGE menu of wagers for you to choose from! One of few online sportsbooks to offer Texas Hold'em! 50% bonus up to $250 in free cash!
5Dimes - 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Reduced juice betting odds! Buy up to 15 points! Most props on the web!
GTBets - Offers a HUGE 100% sign up bonus up to $500! Cool offer allows for you to pick 2 of your favorite college football teams and move the line a full point every time you bet those teams!
Heisman Trophy Betting Odds - This article is outdated and will be updated next year for the 2014 college football season.
Odds to Win the 2015 BCS Championship - The Alabama Crimson Tide are favored to be repeat winners of the National Championship this year at +500 followed by Oregon at +800, Ohio St. +850, LSU/Texas A&M +1200 and Florida/FSU both at +1400. Check out your school's odds here!
Heisman Trophy Winners - A full list of college football quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers who have made history on the field and won the prestigious award.
Fantasy College Football - Draft a fresh team every week! Leagues range from $2 to $420! You can play head to head or in big groups! Payouts take place approx. one hour after the final Saturday game.
The Spread - Who will cover the spread? They will! Offers scores, odds, free game predictions, current news and more!