No. 6 Michigan Wolverines vs No. 8 Michigan State Spartans Predictions, Odds, Picks

  • When Michigan has the ball — run game leads the country, so make ‘em earn it in the air
  • When Michigan State has the ball — force MSU to make long drives, not long plays
  • X-factors to watch

Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Odds

Odds taken from DraftKings Sportsbook

Team Spread Money Line Total
Michigan Wolverines -4 (-110)
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-195
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O 51.5 (-110)
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Michigan State Spartans +4 (-110)
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+165
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U 51.5 (-110)
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Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Pick

This rivalry game is always one of the most heated in all of college football (take it from someone who grew up in Ann Arbor but went to school at Michigan State). THe team who has won the rushing attack in this matchup has won something like 61 of the last 67, but this year there’s even more to it than that. This is likely the most highly anticipated matchup for the Paul Bunyan trophy in decades and the key will come down to the little things that we will explain further down below but the key stat is this — Michigan State has covered in this matchup 11 of the last 13 times. We like our chances there. Take Michigan State with the points.

Pick:

Michigan State +4 (-110)

Garcia’s 2021 record: (16-11)

Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Betting Trends to Watch

  • Wolverines are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
  • Wolverines are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite
  • Wolverines are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games on grass
  • Over is 5-0 in Wolverines last 5 road games
  • Over is 6-2 in Wolverines last 8 games in October
  • Over is 17-4 in Wolverines last 21 road games vs. teams with a winning home record
  • Over is 36-17 in Wolverines last 53 conference games
  • Spartans are 11-2 ATS in last 13 head-to-head matchups
  • Spartans are 5-0-2 ATS in their last 7 games overall
  • Spartans are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in October
  • Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a home underdog
  • Spartans are 1-6 ATS in last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
  • Under is 9-2 in Spartans last 11 games in October
  • Over is 17-5 in Spartans last 22 games following a bye week

Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Predictions

Can Spartans tame Michigan’s two-headed monster?

Michigan looks like old-school Michigan again. Okay, I know you feel like you’ve heard that every year for decades, but it’s really true this year. The Wolverines lead the country in rushing and look like a team that is capable of running at will.

It all starts with their dynamic duo in the backfield, Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum. It’s not a 1-2 punch, this is a 1-1 punch and there’s no starter, there’s just a rotation.

Corum’s stats: 116 rushes for 729 yards (6.3 YPC) and 10 touchdowns.

Haskins’ stats: 124 rushes for 602 yards (4.9 YPC) and 10 touchdowns.

Really, this is a good matchup for Michigan stylistically. Michigan State’s 4-2-5 defense is a bend don’t break defense. What does that mean? MSU is last in the Big Ten in passing yards allowed yet ranks in the top 18 in the country in scoring defense.

In essence, MSU will let you move the ball because they don’t think you will be patient enough to pick up two and three yards at a time. The problem for Michigan State is, Michigan is patient enough to do that. That’s actually how this offense is built — to stay on schedule and keep quarterback Cade McNamara on rhythm.

Speaking of McNamara, he’s going to need to be big in this game. He’s just been a game manager this season and while there’s nothing wrong with that, Michigan will need him to make a game-changing play to win this one.

So far this year he’s just 92-of-146 (63 percent) for 1,115 yards, five touchdowns, and one interception. Still, for his first full season as a starter, Mcnamara isn’t forcing and thing and that’s exactly what Harbaugh is asking of him.

He goes against a Michigan State defense that doesn’t have any stars, but a number of playmakers. Jacob Panasiuk is a disrupter on the front line, Tennessee transfer Quavarious Crouch is a great athlete at linebacker while Xavier Henderson is the leader of the back-seven.

A huge key in this will be if Michigan is settling for field goals or finishing drives with seven points.

Can Wolverines Limit Spartans’ Big Pig Plays?

While Michigan is built to pound the ball in small increments, the Spartans — so far this season — have been a team of home run hitters waiting for their individual turns.

Running back Kenneth Walker III is on the Heisman watchlist with 152 rushes for 997 yards and nine touchdowns and he’s been joined on mid-season All-American lists by wide receiver and all-purpose star Jayden Reed.

That’s not to mention Jalen Nailor who set a record on the road at Rutgers when he had three touchdowns and more than 230 yards receiving in one game.

Last but not least, there’s the man who manages it all behind the center, quarterback Payton Thorne. Thorne has been sensational in his first season as a starter — going 112-of-183 (61.2 percent) passing for 1,701 yards, 15 touchdowns, and four interceptions — and was recently named to the Maxwell Award Watchlist.

But Michigan has a potential All-American — or at least All Big-Ten — at almost every layer of the secondary. Aidan Hutchinson brings the pressure from the outside, Josh Ross does the hunting over the middle and Dax Hill does his best to shut things down in the back end.

They will all need to be on their A-game to slow down a Michigan State offense that has admittedly been Jekyll-and-hyde at times this year, but when operating att its peak is as explosive as any unit in the country.

X-factors to Watch

Rivalry game. Two undefeated, top ten teams. It’s going to come down to the slimmest of margins and that means special teams are magnified even more as a way to flip the game.

Michigan has one of the best special teams units in the country and that’s led by Jake ‘money’ Moody — a clutch kicker with a deep leg. Moody so far this season is 14-of-16 on field goals, including a perfect 10-of-10 on field goals from inside of 40 and 28-of-28 on extra points.

He’s countered by a senior who seems to be hitting his stride after earning co-Big Ten special teams player of the week honors last week in Matt Coghlin.

The fifth-year kicker for the Spartans connected from a career-long 51 as well as 49 yards, proving to be the difference in a 20-15 win over Indiana. Keep an eye out for the specialists.

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How to Watch Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans

Michigan Wolverines vs Michigan State Spartans Information
Teams No. 6 Michigan Wolverines at No. 8 Michigan State Spartans
Location Spartan Stadium East Lansing, Michigan
Time Saturday, Oct. 30, 12:00 p.m. EST
How to watch FOX

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Tony Garcia

Expert on Baseball

Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.