No. 5 Michigan State Spartans (8-0 SU 6-2 ATS) vs. No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2 SU 4-3 ATS) Week 9 NCAA Football, Kinnick Stadium Iowa City, IA 3:30 PM EST Saturday October 30, 2010 on ABC
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: MSU +6.5/IA -6.5
Over/Under Total: 50
The Iowa Hawkeyes host the Michigan State Spartans this Saturday in a HUGE Big 12 game and this is the Spartans last game against a team that is currently ranked in the top 25. Iowa lost their first conference game of the season last week against Wisconsin and they still have to face 11th ranked Ohio State, but if they win out they have an outside chance to play in a BCS bowl game.
MSU is all alone in first place in the Big 10 and can win the conference by winning their last 4 games. Iowa is still in the hunt, but they need some help since they have already lost to Wisconsin in Big 10 play.
Iowa has the slight edge on defense and Michigan State has the slight edge on offense, both teams have a well balanced offense. Turnovers will likely be a key in this evenly matched game and Iowa only has 5 on the season while Michigan State has 11.
The Spartans have covered the spread in their last 5 games and they have covered the spread in both games this season facing a ranked opponent. They head into this game as a 6.5-point underdogs and in the last 5 meetings between these teams the underdog has covered the spread 4 times. In betting terms that may seem to bode well for MSU, but in the Spartans last 4 games against Iowa they have failed to cover the spread once AND in the last 4 games in Iowa they have also failed to cover.
Michigan State comes into this game after beating a good Northwestern team 35-27. In that game QB Kirk Cousins threw for a season-high 331 yards and 3 TD and RB Edwin Baker rushed for 73 yards with 1 TD averaging 7.3 yards per carry.
You would think that Cousins would have to carry the offensive load in this game since the Iowa rushing defense ranks 8th in the nation and their pass defense ranks 52nd and you would be right. Iowa did give up 142 rushing yards last week in their heartbreaking 31-30 loss to Wisconsin, but held Badgers’ star RB John Clay to only 3.8 yards per carry. Cousins will have a good game and put up solid numbers against an Iowa passing D that has not played that well in the last couple of games. However, Iowa will stuff the run with their big line up front. Baker has only faced one rushing defense this season that is ranked in the top 20 in Illinois and in that game he only rushed for 23 yards averaging 2.9 yards per carry.
Heading into the Michigan game 2 weeks ago Iowa led the nation in opponents’ points allowed, but in their last 2 games they have given up 59 points.
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Iowa played a good game on offense against Wisconsin racking up 376 yards with QB Ricky Stanzi passing for 258 yards and 3 TD and RB Adam Robinson rushing for 114 yards and 1 TD. They will be facing a Spartans’ D that is better against the run than the pass. However, Michigan State gave up 170 yards on the ground last week and they will struggle again this week against the run. Stanzi and Robinson will both have good games and the well balanced attack of Iowa will be too much for the Michigan State defense to handle.
Last season Iowa beat Michigan State 15-13, but this game will see more offensive firepower. The Over/Under call is a tough one since MSU is 4-4 O/U this season and Iowa is 4-2-1.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Iowa has not lost back-to-back games at home since 2008 and it will not happen this season. Iowa will stuff the run and their offense will be able to pick up yards on the ground and in the air. They will come back after last week’s tough loss and play well at home winning this game and covering the 6.5-point spread handing Michigan State their first loss of the season.