No. 7 Oregon Ducks(1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. No. 5 Michigan State Spartans(1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 12, 2015, 8:00 pm EST
Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ORE +4/MSU -4
Over/Under Total: 67
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Last years game in September between the No. 5-ranked Michigan State Spartans and the 7th-ranked Oregon Ducks still weighed heavily on the minds of the college football playoff committee in late November, so this years rematch in Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday night should hold the same amount of significance in the 2015 playoff race.
This years rematch between the two perennial top-10 programs will likely be the biggest game for the committee this September too. For Oregon, it will give them a chance to show the country they have just reloaded for another PAC-12 and national title run in 2015. For the Spartans, they will get a chance to show everyone they arent ready to just concede the Big Ten title to the defending champion Buckeyes.
Both teams won their season-opening prep games last weekend, with Oregon dropping Eastern Washington, 61-42, behind 731 yards of total offense. Michigan State had a little tougher time beating Western Michigan, 37-24, but that was expected since the Broncos offer a little stiffer competition.
Oddsmakers set the opening point spread with Michigan State as a standard 3-point favorite at home, a number that was quickly moved up to 4-points after only a few hours of being live. The new number seems to have stopped the early steam, because it has evened out the money closer to a 50-50 split on both sides (actually 54%-to-46% in favor of Sparty). However, there are a few sportsbooks on the Web that have moved the point spread down the hook to Michigan State minus -3.5. The over/under total opened at 67 at a few of the early sportsbooks to post a total.
The biggest question for Oregon going into the game Saturday will be the health of starting QB Vernon Adams. Adams looked great in his debut with the Ducks (76%, 246 yards, 2 TD passing; 94 yards rushing), until he was drilled in the helmet on a scramble and was taken off with a concussion. Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich also needs to be concerned about his defense too, which gave up 549 total yards to Eastern Washington last week a number that has to keep Helfrich awake at night.
Michigan State didnt have as hard of a time against the Broncos as the score would indicate, however, Western Michigan is expected to be at the top of the MAC this season so theres no shame in giving up nearly 400 yards and 24 points in the opener. QB Connor Cook struggled a bit in the opener (only 15-for-31, 48%), but the Spartans three-headed backfield of L.J. Scott, Madre London and Gerald Holmes was hard for the Broncos to stop. Expect much of the same as Michigan State will try and pound the ball on the ground to run the clock, control the game keep Adams and the Ducks offense on the sideline as long as possible.
Last years game was won by Oregon, 46-27, with the Ducks covering the 14-point spread as well. In fact, the Ducks have covered the spread in all three of the games these two schools have played over the years, including a, 27-20, loss in their last and only visit to East Lansing back in 1999 (as 11-point underdogs).
Michigan State has been solid at home (7-2 ATS in last nine at home; 6-2-1 ATS versus non-conference). The over looks like a great betting trend play on Saturday too, with the over going 7-0 in Michigan States last seven non-conference games and 7-3 in Oregons last 10 non-conference contests.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I fully expect the homefield advantage to come back in Michigan States favor this season. Oregon will not find the Spartans defense as easy to play against as the Eastern Washington one, and considering the Ducks defense was gutted pretty good last week, this game could turn ugly if Michigan State keeps pounding it down the Ducks throats. Im taking Michigan State minus the 3.5-points.
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