Michigan State is hoping to get its Big Ten portion of the campaign off on the right foot at home in hopes of getting to the Rose Bowl this year. The Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason, but they are still going to try to make life a living hell on the rest of the teams on their schedule in conference play this year. The Spartans are short 2.5-point home favorites.
1. Why Ohio State will cover the spread: The Buckeyes might have the more talented team on both sides of the ball, and that’s definitely something that cannot be overlooked. QB Braxton Miller will help OSU cover the spread if he can maintain the football and work the pigskin down the field for big plays. That’s what has been missing over the course of the last few weeks against the UAB Blazers and Cal Golden Bears, but the truth of the matter is that the Buckeyes are finding ways to win games because of their defense. This time around, as long as they win, they’ll cover, something that they haven’t done for three straight games.
2. Why Michigan State will cover the spread: Michigan State will cover the spread against the Buckeyes if its defense can contain Miller. There has been a lot of scrutiny over QB Andrew Maxwell and the fact that the Spartans have only dropped more than 23 points on one foe this year, but the truth of the matter is that the defense, against a great slate of teams, has allowed a grand total of just 43 points through four games, and 14 of those points came courtesy of pick-sixes. If that keeps up, the Spartans, in spite of their sometimes meager offense, will have a chance at winning the Big Ten and this game.
3. Total Talk: It’s going to be difficult to tally points in this game, and we are expecting this to be one of the lowest ‘totals’ of the weekend. That being said, both teams have shown that they can be had on big time plays. The Spartans have only allowed three defensive touchdowns this year, but two of the three covered at least 25 yards. The Buckeyes conceded two touchdowns of at least 60 yards on the ground against California two weeks ago, and that has to have RB Le’Veon Bell salivating at the idea of being able to bust some long ones against a very aggressive Buckeyes defense.
4. Betting Trends for the game: The Buckeyes are a whopping 22-4-1 ATS in their last 27 road games against teams with winning home records, and they are 42-18-1 ATS in their last 61 conference games. The favorite is 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine in this series, but the road team has covered four in a row. Take the points!
Ohio State 24 – Michigan State 20