Ohio State vs. Michigan State BIG 10 Championship Point Spread Preview & Score Prediction
Fans of both the Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes will be paying top dollar to see each B1G division winner go at it from Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night when the conference rivals lock horns in the third ever installment of the Big Ten Championship Game. Sparty has climbed the ranks every passing week and had already punched its ticket to this game before getting past Minnesota in a letdown spot last week. Ohio State remained perfect under Coach Urban Meyer’s watch last week in the Big House, but needed to thwart a 2-point conversion in the game’s final seconds in order to do so.
1. Why Ohio State will cover the spread: Save for last week’s escape and a 7-point win over Wisconsin at home, the Buckeyes won their 10 other games by an average of 32.7 PPG. QB Braxton Miller is in the midst of a brilliant season that’s seen him throw for 1759 yards and a 21:5 TD/INT ratio while adding another 891 yards and 8 TDs with his legs. He along with RB Carlos Hyde has helped form the nation’s 2nd ranked rushing attack that’s gouged the opposition for an average of 322.1 YPG; only Army rushed for more yards per game this season.
Ohio State covered the closing number in three of its five game played away from the Horseshoe, and has toppled the point-spread in four of its L/5 neutral site battles.
2. Why Michigan State will cover the spread: The Spartans possess exactly what the Buckeyes do not want to see – a stellar rush defense that allowed nearly 20 YPG less than Louisville’s 2nd ranked rush “D” that only gave up an average of 83.1 YPG. That’s right peeps, Coach Dantonio’s kids only gave up a measly 64.4 YPG on the ground and allowed just two 100+ yard rushers all season long.
If OSU looks to test the Spartans through the air, it’ll be forced to throw into the 9th ranked pass defense that allowed an average of just 172.9 YPG and 11 TD passes. In short, this is the most complete defense the Buckeyes high scoring offense will have faced to date.
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3. Total Talk: These non-divisional rivals have played to low scorers in four of their L/5 overall meetings with last year’s game playing to a 17-16 final score in favor of the scarlet and grey. Ohio State cashed ‘over’ bettors tickets eight of 12 times this season, while the exact opposite occurred with the Spartans who played to low scorers in eight of their 12 games. The ‘under’ has cashed in each of the Buckeyes L/5 neutral site skirmishes, while MSU has played below the closing ‘total’ in 18 of their L/26 overall games played.
4. Betting Trends for the game: Though MSU’s offense leaves much to be desired on paper, it seemed to have come around later in the season enough to the point that I feel it can be successful against a Buckeyes defense that has its warts. This is going to be a game of field position, and ball security will be of utmost importance. MSU possesses the advantages in the turnover department (+15 to +6), FG kicking, and most importantly, on the defensive side of the ball. While I hate playing against streaks as impressive as the Buckeyes 24-game win streak under Meyer, I can’t help but buy into the thought of Sparty having the exact makeup to pull this upset.
Michigan State has covered at a 7-1-1 ATS clip the L/9 times it locked horns with a +.500 opponent, and stands 8-2 ATS the L/10 times it was dogged. Those hoping to not see an Ohio State team once again get waxed in the BCS National Championship Game can now rejoice!
Michigan State 24 – Ohio State 23