No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date/Time: Saturday November 19th, 2016. 12:00PM (EST)
Where: Spartan Stadium East Lansing, M.I.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OSU -21.5/MSU +21.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
While the majority of the top teams in the country struggled last week, the no. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes continued to flex their muscles with a dominating 62-3 victory over Maryland. It was the 2nd straight win for Ohio State by a score of 62-3 mirroring the same total that was the result of their demolishing win over no. 10 Nebraska just two weeks ago. This week Ohio State will try to keep their impressive play going and remain in the College Football Playoff discussion as they go into East Lansing for a date with the Michigan State Spartans.
Due to Michigan’s loss last week, the Buckeyes now appear to have a great shot at the playoffs if they can beat the Spartans and then their finale with Michigan. Ironically, the Buckeyes playoffs chances are better than their chances to make the Big Ten Championship Game. Ohio State is currently in a 3 way tie with Michigan and Penn State in the Big Ten East standings at 6-1 in conference play. Even with a win over the Wolverines in two weeks, the Buckeyes would still be behind Penn State given their head to head loss to the Nittany Lions. Therefore, they must hope for Penn State to suffer some type of surprising loss if they are going to represent to play for a conference championship.
It seems rather odd that the Nittany Lions could be playing for the Big Ten Championship and the Buckeyes or Wolverines could be playoff bound. However, that is the very likely circumstances that are starting to unfold in the Big Ten. Still, the Buckeyes have to handle business first before they controversy can continue. This week Ohio State goes into East Lansing for a rivalry game against the 3-7 Michigan State Spartans. Obviously the Spartans are having a treacherous season according to their prestigious standards that includes 3 straight seasons of at least 11 wins prior to 2016. However, let’s not completely count out Mark Dantonio’s team in a rivalry setting that has sponsored wins in 3 of the last 5 meetings against Ohio State.
The Spartans snapped a 7 game losing streak last week with a 49-0 shutout against a Rutgers team that has still not won a Big Ten game this season. Still, the Spartans needed a decisive victory to build some sort of confidence going into this week’s clash with the Buckeyes. So far this year, things have been dreadful. The Spartans defense has typically been at the forefront of their success under Dantonio but they have relinquished 27.1 points per game this season which ranks 60th in the FBS. If you compare that to the numerous top 10 defenses that have been on the field in East Lansing in the last several years, you can quickly see a big drop in production this season on the defensive side of the ball.
The defensive issues are scary because Ohio State is very dangerous on offense as seen in the last two weeks with 62 points scored in each game. Buckeyes quarterback J.T. Barrett and Curtis Samuel have combined for 13 touchdowns in the last 2 games. Barrett has been great throwing the football this season with 23 scores and just 4 picks while leading the Buckeyes with 8 scores on the ground. Meanwhile both Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel have compiled 7 rushing touchdowns a piece. This Ohio State offense is just loaded with speed and a dynamic rushing scheme that is averaging 267 yards per game (10th in FBS).
Therefore, Michigan State is going to need one of their best defensive efforts this Saturday to keep this game competitive. More importantly they are going to need to score some points as well. Quarterback Tyler O’Connor has been decent at times and awful at other times. O’Connor has 15 passing touchdowns on the season with 7 picks. However, this offense typically relies on their running game to move the football. Both LJ Scott and Gerald Holmes have averaged over 5 yards per carry this season and the Spartans typically run the football at a near 60% clip. I doubt they are going to have much open space to run the football against this Buckeyes defense on Saturday so this cover comes down to which Tyler O’Connor we will see take the field on Saturday.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I really want to jump on Michigan State and the points in this rivalry game. It just seems so easy. However, I just do not think they have a team that can stay competitive against the Buckeyes. Therefore, I will roll with the team that keeps dominating. Take OSU -21.5
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