Battle of Michigan: Wolverines vs. Spartans Odds & Pick

by | Oct 27, 2021 | cfb

Michigan Wolverines (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (7-0 SU, 5-0-2 ATS)

When: Saturday, October 30, Noon

Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.

TV: Fox

Point Spread: MICH -4.5/MIST +4.5 (BetNow - Why re-deposit at your book for NOTHING when you could grab a 100% bonus up to $1000 here?)

Total: O/U 51


The Big Ten East sees its first real battle between heavyweights, at least on paper, as Michigan State now gets the chance to prove it belongs in the same breath as Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. The Spartans have rolled to a 7-0 start this season, but their best win of the season might be Nebraska in Lincoln. Michigan State has exactly zero wins against teams with a winning record in 2021, as it has played the two worst teams in both the Big Ten East and Big Ten West and watched Miami collapse after going to South Florida and routing the Hurricanes.
Michigan has looked a bit more impressive at times, having routed what might be the two best teams in the Mid-American Conference and flattened Wisconsin, but the Wolverines also find their resume to be lacking a bit. They’ve also come across the likes of Northwestern, Nebraska and Rutgers in Big Ten play, with the one difference being that they played Wisconsin instead of Indiana. That’s a marginally more impressive result, but it still shows the same thing: that these teams look a lot better on paper than they have on the field.

That’s why betting these teams can be a risky proposition: the winner will be 8-0 and in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten East, but neither team has shown it can beat a good Big Ten squad this year.

How the Public is Betting the Michigan/Michigan State Game

The public and money seems to be siding with the Wolverines, as Michigan has seen the line tick up from -3.5 to -4.5. The total hasn’t changed at all, sticking at 51.

Injury Concerns

Defensive lineman Taylor Upshaw (undisclosed) and offensive lineman Trevor Keegan (shoulder) are questionable. Wide receiver Ronnie Bell (knee) is out for the season.

Michigan State:
Tight end Adam Berghorst (knee), defensive end Jack Camper (undisclosed), linebacker Itayvion Brown (undisclosed) and tight end Trenton Gillison (undisclosed) are questionable. Quarterback Anthony Russo (lower body), running back Elijah Collins (leg), wide receiver Ricky White (personal), linebacker Carson Casteel (leg) and defensive end Drew Beesley (undisclosed) are out.

When Michigan Has the Ball

You’d think Michigan State would have the stronger ground game, but statistically, Michigan actually does more damage on the ground. The Wolverines opt for more of a committee approach than the Spartans do, as they use a two-headed back of Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins rather than trying to throw the ball a lot.
Michigan doesn’t seem to have a lot of trust in Cade McNamara, as the Wolverines tend to only use him when they have to use him. McNamara has gone under 200 passing yards in four of his past five games, but the Wolverines have still rolled through their opposition and picked up some fairly comfortable wins. Michigan only ranks 104th in the country in passing yards, so if you can stop the Wolverines’ ground game, you can stop them cold. The Spartans’ ground defense ranks 30th in the nation, but they also haven’t faced a running game this strong.

When Michigan State Has the Ball

Payton Thorne has been able to manage the game well for the Spartans so far this season, in large part because he’s been able to count on Kenneth Walker to grind out yardage. Unlike Michigan, the Spartans mainly rely on one back to do the job, so if Walker finds the going rough, the job usually falls to Thorne to do enough to keep the Spartans ahead.

So far, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions say that he’s done a fine job of avoiding mistakes. But with Michigan only giving up 14.7 points per game, Thorne might have to do more than simply avoid errors. The Wolverines don’t allow much in either the run or pass game, and they tend to finish teams off in the third quarter. Another slow start for the Spartan offense like it had against Indiana would be devastating.

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Betting Trends

Michigan State has been a disaster at home in recent years, covering in just four of its past 21 home games. But Michigan isn’t a lot better, as the Wolverines are 0-5 ATS in their past five against teams with a winning record. That’s why this has been such a tough one to call: the fact that both were playing bad teams means there’s not a lot of information that you can really trust.

Historically, this has been a game where Michigan State plays up to Michigan’s level, even when the Wolverines manage to win the game. In their past 13 meetings, Michigan State has covered 11 times, with the Wolverines covering in just one of their past six in East Lansing.

Weather Report

This should be a typical Midwestern fall football day, with temperatures at 54 degrees on a cloudy day outside the Michigan state capital. Wind will be a non-factor at two miles per hour.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Despite the history Michigan State has of getting the job done against Michigan, I think the Wolverines are legitimate and the Spartans a product of a weak schedule. I don’t see anything to be impressed about with Michigan State, and I can see the Wolverines taking advantage of Michigan State’s weak pass defense.

I’ll go with the Wolverines here. It’s always a good idea to have multiple sportsbooks. Why? To compare lines, enjoy the different types of wagers offered and to get the best sportsbook bonuses! We promote one that goes as high as 100% up to $1000! Check it out!