Indiana Hosiers (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (7-0 SU, 1-6 ATS)
College Football Week 8
Date/Time: Saturday, October 24, 2015, 3:30 pm EST
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
TV: ABC, ESPN2, DirecTV 209
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: IND +16.5/MSU -16.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
Fresh off their miracle last-second victory in the Big House last Saturday over the Wolverines, the 7th-ranked Michigan State Spartans will have to find a way to calm down their emotions when they host the improving Indiana Hoosiers in another Big Ten Conference tilt Saturday in Spartan Stadium.
If you didnt see the unbelievable ending to the Spartans victory over their in-state rivals last weekend, Google it. The game, and more specifically the ending, will be remembered forever in Ann Arbor and East Lansing and across the college football landscape as one of the most memorable endings ever.
More importantly, it kept the Spartans dreams of reaching the 2016 college football playoff alive for another week and has everyone in the Big Ten Conferences East division looking ahead on the schedule to their showdown with Ohio State on November 21st.
But Sparty better not suffer a lapse in concentration this week when the Hoosiers come to town. Indiana is not the pushover they have been in previous seasons, even though they suffered one of the worst letdowns in college football history last week in their, 55-52, loss to Rutgers at home in Memorial Stadium. Sitting with a comfortable 25-point lead late in the third quarter, Indiana allowed Rutgers to score 28 unanswered points in the final 16 minutes of the game as the Scarlet Knights drilled a 26-yard field goal as time expired to stun the Indiana crowd and score one of the biggest comebacks in college football history. The loss was the Hoosiers third straight defeat, all in conference play, after starting off the season 4-0.
Even though this is a classic letdown spot for Michigan State following their incredible win, oddsmakers certainly dont seem to feel that way as they listed the Spartans as 17-point favorites when the point spread went up on the board Sunday. The number has dropped the hook to Michigan State minus -16.5 at most sportsbooks both on the Web and in Las Vegas, but with a 1-6 ATS record already this season, the Spartans certainly arent worried about making friends in Vegas.
As of press time, the over/under total on this game has yet to be released.
Spartans senior QB Connor Cook had to carry the team on his back in the Michigan game, as injuries along the offensive line continue to cause major problems for the normally strong Spartans running game. Playing against a major defensive test in the Wolverines, Michigan State was only able to gain 58 yards on the ground (1.8 ypc) and has had to rely on Cooks throwing to move the chains for several weeks now. This week things could change though, as the Hoosiers defense allowed 210 yards rushing in the loss to Rutgers and has allowed 170 yards a game on the ground all season (71st in FBS).
But Cook wont be the only senior QB on the field Saturday, as Indianas Nate Sudfeld is having a solid final season to his career in Bloomington. Sudfeld passed for a career-high 464 yards in the loss to Rutgers, with three different receivers all tallying over 100 yards receiving in the game. The Hoosiers offense also racked up 627 total yards in last weeks loss, numbers that as sure to drop against the Spartans defense which is currently ranked 36th in the country in yards allowed. However, the Spartans main weakness on defense is their secondary (allowing 231 ypg 75th), so look for Sudfeld to throw it early and often if the Hoosiers want any chance to catch the Spartans asleep at the wheel.
Last years game in Bloomington was ugly for Hoosiers fans, as Michigan State ran up a 56-17 victory and covered in a game that closed with an almost identical point spread (closed at 15.5). Indiana hasnt beaten Michigan State since 2006, in a 46-21 upset as 6.5-point underdogs at home.
If you can look past the Spartans horrible 1-6 ATS thus far in 2016, you might be able to take an opportunity to bet on them in this game. Not only has Michigan State covered in five of the last six meetings with Indiana (5-1 ATS), but going back a decade the Hoosiers are 0-5 ATS in their last five visits to Spartan Stadium. The home team (6-2 ATS) and the favorite (5-1 ATS) are also strong betting trends for this matchup on Saturday. It also should be noted that the over is a strong trend play, going 7-0 in the last seven head-to-head meetings and 5-2 in games played in East Lansing.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: It wouldnt surprise me one bit if the Hoosiers hang around in this game early, as the Spartans are overdue for a little letdown hangover after the miracle win over Michigan. But with a defense that allowed Rutgers to roll up 55 points last week and an FCS school in Southern Illinois to score 47 points against them in the opener, I have an incredibly hard time backing a team with no regard for stopping the other team from putting up big numbers. Spartans roll at home it wont be easy, but theyll pull away for the cover in the end. Im taking Michigan State minus the points.
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