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The Michigan State Spartans land the proverbial ‘cupcake’ to open the 2019 campaign, as they are set to host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane in East Lansing on Friday night.
Tulsa is coming off back-to-back seasons that have been simply miserable, finding only 5 wins over the last 2 years. After a 3 – 9 season for 5th-year coach Phil Montgomery, the goal is to get back to a bowl game in 2019, although a trip to Big Ten country has them facing a big spread on the road.
Michigan State and head coach Mark Dantonio hope to have a healthier squad than a year ago. Injuries on offense set back Sparty to a 7 – 5 record in 2018, and this year they have road games against Wisky, Ohio State, and Michigan.
The Spartans are listed as big favorites to start the year against Tulsa, and 48 returning lettermen will provide some much-needed experience when conference play begins.
Golden Hurricane facing uphill battle to open 2019
It’s one thing to have to open the season on the road, but the Golden Hurricane took on a big mission going into Big Ten territory to start the year.
Tulsa might have a solution this year, however, as Baylor transfer Zach Smith is set to take over as the Golden Hurricane signal-caller in 2019. Smith tore up the Oklahoma defense in 2017 in one of his starts before leaving Baylor, and after sitting out last season he is ready to carry the team with 2 years of eligibility.
The Seth Boomer/Luke Skipper project was a disaster a season ago, and head coach Phil Montgomery is hoping he now has an arm to rely on for the next 2 seasons at Tulsa.
Catch @CoachPMonty's first radio show of the season LIVE on Facebook or on Big Country 99.5 tonight at 7:00pm. Tweet us any questions you have for coach, or text us during the show to @RedCrownCU's text line at 90561 starting with the word "Coach" pic.twitter.com/7frgO7adfr
— TulsaHurricane (@TulsaHurricane) August 26, 2019
Tulsa gets 8 starters back on defense, but this is another scenario where you have to wonder if that’s a good thing or not. Tulsa ranked 118th in the country against the run in 2018 and gave up an average of 233 yards on the ground. However, Tulsa ranked 8th in the land against the pass last season, and 7 DBs are returning with starting experience.
Sparty has no room to overlook Tulsa to open 2019
Head Coach Mark Dantonio surely knows that despite being 3 TD favorites against Tulsa at home, there is no room to take this team lightly.
This might not be one of the bigger games of the season in the grand scheme of things, but a 1 – 0 start is a must this year after so many things went wrong in 2018.
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) August 26, 2019
Injuries to the Sparty offense left them ranked 125th in the country scoring only 18.7 PPG, while the defense had to work overtime to keep them in so many games. Michigan State scored only 6 points in 3 of their last 4 games to finish the year, which includes their 7 – 6 loss to Oregon in the RedBox Bowl. (Excuse me while I go throw up a little)
That is simply not going to get it done this year, and Dantonio better find a way to motivate the squad and hope injuries don’t mount again. A new offensive coordinator, Brad Salem, has been with the team since 2010 and Dantoni is showing confidence in his former QB/RB assistant to inspire a big season.
The defense had to be solid and 8 starters return that include nearly the entire front 7 for DC Mike Tressel.
Some are calling for this Sparty D-line to be among the best in the nation, and the ‘No Fly Zone’ will be in full effect with most of the defensive backfield intact again.
Pretty fluid. I see that running back situation very fluid. Guys are going to get opportunities especially in the first game of the season. Connor has had a good summer camp, been impressed with really all of our running backs in summer camp. They’ve adapted to some of the new things, been able to retain other things. So we’ll see how they play.” Mark Dantonio on his running back situation.
- Spartans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
- Spartans are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in August.
- Spartans are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Friday games.
- Golden Hurricane are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games on grass.
Updated on Aug 30 at 11:05am EDT
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
Sparty has gone from -21.5 up t0 -23.5. They have gotten just 54% of the bets so far so the sharps are helping them along a bit.
Injury / Weather Report
Tulsa’s Impact Injury Report
Out: WR Josh Johnson
Michigan State’s Impact Injury Report
Out: OT Cole Chewins, DE Zach Slade, and WR Tre’von Morgan
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
You are reading that right, and I cam calling to Tulsa to hang around long enough to keep this within a 3 TD score.
I foresee a big day for the healthy Spartans to start the season, but don’t just overlook Tulsa being the cupcake you may have them pegged as.
Zach Smith has seen some big situations in his career at QB, and Tulsa will get their points against Sparty.
This will be a 42 – 24 game, and that will point you to the cover and the over, which is coming at you next.
Tulsa +22.5 is the action bet.
Prediction: Tulsa +21.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This total is actually hysterical to me, and if you remember last year I went 10 – 1 with my 5* plays here at Statsalt.
Michigan State will almost get all of these points alone, and I expect a game much higher than something near 50 to happen.
Smash the total to go over the number as your best bet of the weekend, because that’s your play here to make.
Prediction: Over 47.5