#12 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1), -3, 42 O/U vs. #20 Michigan State Spartans (6-1), +3, 42 O/U
Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, M.I., 3:30PM Eastern, Saturday
by Jay Horne of predictem.com
Big Ten power houses collide Saturday in a conference showdown between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans. Both teams come into the contest at a seasons mark of 6-1 and 3-0 record in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes and the Spartans will be battling to keep Big Ten Championship hopes alive when the two square off in East Lansing Saturday.
The #12 ranked Buckeyes look to make another run at a conference championship, but will have to do battle with a tough Michigan State team on the road in order to accomplish that defeat. Ohio State is coming off a 16-3 win over Purdue last week at The Horseshoe. Defensively Ohio State has been superb this year only allowing 14 points per game and less than 12 points per game in their last 4 outings. The defense is ranked #12 nationally in total yards allowing 269 yards per game. Ohio State has been able to establish the run very well this season putting up nearly 180 yards a game on the ground. The Buckeyes have had to resort to a ground attack offense since the passing game has not been as consistent as they would like.
#20 Michigan State is a team who does not put up big numbers in scoring or offense, but nonetheless is a very dangerous football team. In the Spartans first game of the season, they suffered a 7-point loss to California. Since then Michigan State has rattled off 6 straight victories including a 37-20 win last week against Northwestern. The Spartans are averaging 30 points per game on offense. If they can put up those kinds of points against the Buckeyes, they will be tough to beat. The Spartans are averaging 380 yards per game on offense thanks to a great rushing game that has been difficult for opposing teams to stop.
Freshman sensation Terrelle Pryor leads the way for the Buckeyes offense. Pryor has earned the starting position after the first few games and gives a double threat on offense. Pryor has a strong arm and can also be tough to defend because he can tuck the ball and run very well. Pryor has completed 66% passing on the year for 537 yards, 5 TDs, and 2 interceptions. Also Pryor has 76 carries for 339 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Chris Beenie Wells missed 3 games this season with a toe injury but has been back on the field for the past 3 weeks. In those 3 games, Wells has averaged 123 yards a game. Wells and Pryors running success is key in knocking off the Spartans come Saturday.
The Michigan State offense is led by Heisman Trophy candidate Javon Ringer. Ringer has simply been amazing already rushing for over 1100 yards in his first 7 games. Ringer has 247 carries for 1112 yards this season averaging 4.5 yards per carry along with a lucrative 14 touchdowns. Ringer is on pace to nearly eclipse the 2,000 yard mark at the pace he is on halfway through the season. Brian Hoyer is the man behind center for the Spartans racking up 1300 yards through the air so far this season. Hoyer is completing 50% of his 171 pass attempts on the season resulting in 6 TDs and 3 picks. Hoyers favorite target has been WR Mark Dell who has caught 20 catches this year for 443 yards and 2 TDs.
Bookies have the betting line holding the Buckeyes as slim favorites by a field goal(-3). Betting action has 60% of the public going with the Buckeyes. The over/under total for the contest has been steady at 42 and early action for that contest has nearly 85% of bettors going with the over total. Moneyline numbers have Ohio State at -155 while holding Michigan State at +135.
The Buckeyes will look to shutdown Javon Ringer and perhaps control the game with their rushing attacks. The Ohio State defense has been sound all season and they will need to be solid to shutdown a powerful Spartan running attack. The Buckeyes could be contempt at making this matchup a defensive battle considering they have one of the best defenses in the nation.
Michigan State must make an effort early to score points and put the pressure on the Buckeyes. If the Spartans can score quickly, it will could push the Buckeyes out of the comfort zone and force them to make mistakes. Ohio State likes to control the pace of the game assisted from the play of their defense. The Spartans will look to try and penetrate this strong defensive unit with a powerful rushing attack. The play of Javon Ringer will play a big part in whether the Michigan State offense can be effective against the Buckeye defense.
Betting numbers to keep in mind before these two teams take the field: Michigan State is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games and 6-0 in their last 6 SU. The Spartans have gone on the under total 4 out of their last 6 games as well. Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games going on the under total in 5 of those 6 games. Ohio State has played well for bettors on the road going 12-4 ATS in their last 16 on the road. Ohio State is also 5-0 SU in their last 5 games against the Spartans.
Jay’s Pick: Folks, I’d be lying to ya if I told ya I could pick a winner here. This game could go either way.