Michigan State vs. Ohio State Pick ATS
Michigan State Spartans (4-1) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0)
When: Saturday, October 5, 7:30 p.m. EDT
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Point Spread: OHST -20
Total: O/U 49.5
Outlook For Week 6
Week 5 was a tale of two extremes for these long-time rivals. On the one hand, Ohio State faced its first real test of the season at Nebraska and throttled the Cornhuskers, winning 48-7 in a game that the Buckeyes dominated from the opening drive. In the process, Ohio State firmly established itself as the team to beat in the Big Ten. Michigan State, on the other hand, had to sweat against Big Ten bottom-feeder Indiana, pulling the game out of the fire at the end after the Hoosiers tied it late.
How the Public is Betting the Michigan State/Ohio State Game
The line initially came out at Ohio State by 13.5, but all of the movement has been toward the Buckeyes, who are now giving 20 points. The total has moved only slightly, rising from 49 to 49.5.
Offensive lineman Blake Bueter is probable with a leg injury while running back Connor Heyward, wide receiver Cam Chambers and corner Shakur Brown are all questionable after missing the Indiana game.
Offensive lineman Branden Bowen missed last week’s game at Nebraska and is questionable, as is linebacker Teradja Mitchell.
When Michigan State Has the Ball
Michigan State’s offense has carried the stigma of being stuck in the mud ever since last season, which saw the Spartans struggle badly to get going down the stretch. That wasn’t exactly helped by the Spartans’ 10-7 disaster against Arizona State, where Michigan State put up over 400 yards of offense but couldn’t cash in until Elijah Collins scored in the fourth quarter.
Collins has been a big part of the Spartan offense, averaging more than five yards per carry and giving quarterback Brian Lewerke enough of a balance to move Michigan State down the field. But the Spartans haven’t exactly been faced with a string of great defenses to this point of the schedule. Michigan State has to keep its offense on the field in this game because even its strong defense won’t be enough to keep Ohio State at bay for four quarters.
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When Ohio State Has the Ball
Call that a test passed for Ohio State. The Buckeyes haven’t been challenged all season outside of the first quarter, and that didn’t change against Nebraska. Ohio State’s most significant issue is how it might react if it faces real adversity. Michigan State’s defense has been nasty for much of the season other than the Indiana game. If the Spartans are on top of their game on that side of the ball, it’s anyone’s guess as to how Justin Fields will react. To this point, he hasn’t had to face a tough situation, leaving his mentality as a question mark should Ohio State face a close contest.
One of the reasons the Buckeyes haven’t been tested much is because of running back J.K. Dobbins, who heads a backfield that ranks third in the nation on the ground. This will be a case of strength on strength, though, as Michigan State ranks fourth in the country against the run in terms of yards per game.
This game used to be a major thorn in Ohio State’s side. But since the Big Ten dropped the absurd “Leaders” and “Legends” divisional alignment and instead went to East and West, making this game an annual fixture, Ohio State has dominated it, winning four of five meetings since the Big Ten championship game in the final year before divisional realignment. The past two years haven’t even been close for the Spartans, as Ohio State has outscored Michigan State 74-9 and barely broken a sweat.
However, the most recent meeting in Columbus is a notable exception in the series, as the teams tend to play a defensive battle when they meet at Ohio Stadium. The under has hit in four consecutive meetings in Columbus, in part because both sides can play defense well. As for the spread, these are teams going in different directions. Ohio State has covered in their past four Big Ten games, while Michigan State has only managed to cover once in their previous five games in the league.
After a hot week, fall will arrive for the weekend in Columbus, with the temperatures set to hit a high of 70 degrees.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Twenty is a lot of points to give, especially with a defense like Michigan State’s. But there’s a reason to think that Ohio State can hit it. If not for last week, I’d be thinking this spread was a touchdown too high, but if Indiana can move the ball on Michigan State’s defense, then there’s little reason to believe that the Buckeyes are going to have trouble.
Meanwhile, Ohio State’s defense is overlooked because of just how dominant the Fields-led offense has been. The Spartans haven’t shown that they can move the ball against a first-class defense like Ohio State, and there’s very little to suggest that Michigan State can slow down the Buckeyes.
I don’t love giving the point total that’s required here, but I don’t see any other option. I’ve got to go with Ohio State.
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