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Spartan Stadium, in East Lansing, Michigan, is the site for an NCAA Big Ten Conference Football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Michigan State Spartans. The Buckeyes pulled a rabbit out of their hat with a 36-31 win over Nebraska and the Spartans defeated Maryland on their own turf 24-3. Both teams are still in the hunt for a Big Ten Championship so it should be an exciting game for the East Lansing crowd to enjoy.
Ohio State and Their Shaky Defense
Ohio State committed three turnovers and still pulled out a 36-31 win against Nebraska. The Buckeyes also allowed 450 total yards and that was about 60 more than their average of 393 total yards allowed. That isn’t very encouraging, is it? What was encouraging was their 481 total yards on offense; 252 passing yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Dwayne Haskins and J.K. Dobbins ran for 163 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes to their eighth win overall and their fifth Big Ten Conference win.
The Buckeyes defense hasn’t been very reliable this season. Teams convert 32 percent of their third downs, 50 percent of their fourth downs and allow teams to score on 88 percent of their trips to the Red Zone. That’s how teams score the 23.8 points Ohio State allows their opponents each and every week. Ohio State has six interceptions, one pick-six and the defense has recorded 27 sacks this season.
Michigan State’s Shaky Offense
Michigan State played strong defense last Saturday and that led them to their 24-3 victory over Maryland. MSU allowed just 100 total yards and limited the Terrapins to just nine first downs. The Spartans offense sputtered a bit but did gain 356 total yards; Sophomore running back Connor Heyward rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Spartans to their sixth victory of the season and fourth victory against two defeats in Big Ten Conference play. The win also made the Spartans Bowl Eligible for the eleventh time in twelve seasons.
As good as the Spartans defense is, the offense is shaky at best. They average 360 total yards per game and score an average of 23.4 points per game. That isn’t going to win many games in the Big Ten but fortunately for MSU, their defense is a beast and allows an average of 19 points per game.
Back to the offense; the Spartans average 234 passing yards per game and 125 rushing yards. Junior quarterback Brian Lewerke has thrown for 1740 yards, eight touchdowns, eight interceptions and has been sacked 16 times this season. Lewerke also has shoulder problems so there is that to also consider. Heyward is their leading rusher with 358 yards and five touchdowns. MSU converts 32 percent of its third downs, 50 percent of their fourth downs and score on 87 percent of their Red Zone possessions this season.
- Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
What we have here is a battle between the exceptional defense of Michigan State and the exceptional offense of Ohio State. Or, the mediocre offense of Michigan State against the mediocre defense of Ohio State. In games like this, with such a small spread, we should always take the exceptional offense. ALWAYS. Ohio State can score, and score, and score some more and as good as I believe the Spartans defense is, I don’t think that defense is going to be able to cover the spread all by themselves. As mediocre as the Buckeye defense has been, they know how to get to the quarterback and MSU has allowed 20 sacks this season. I have to put my money on Ohio State to cover Saturday.
Prediction: Ohio State -3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The spread would indicate possibly a shootout type of game. After watching both teams play the majority of their games this season, a shootout is the last thing I think will happen. My thoughts are more along the lines of a 24-17 type of game and that’s what I see in the numbers. The Spartans can play defense with anyone; the problem is their offense can’t and I see the Spartans on the field for far longer than they should be if they want to win. I’m going with the under on Saturday.
Prediction: Under 52