Big Ten College Football Betting Preview: Michigan State Spartans At Illinois Fighting Illini
Michigan State Spartans at Illinois Fighting Illini
Memorial Stadium – Champaign, Illinois
Saturday, October 26, 2013, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC/ESPN2
Opening Line: Michigan State -13
Current Line: Michigan State -10
Opening Total: 50
Current Total: 49 1/2
Opening Money Line: Michigan State -400 / Illinois +320
Current Money Line: Michigan State -375 / Illinois +305
The 6-1 Michigan State Spartans lead the Big Ten Legends Division with a 3-0 conference record, a half game ahead of 2-0 Nebraska. The Spartans travel to the 3-3 Illinois Fighting Illini Saturday. The 0-2 Illini are one of three winless teams in the Big Ten along with 0-3 Northwestern and Purdue. The Spartans leads the series 25-17-2 against Illinois, including 12-9-1 in Champaign. Michigan State won the last game 26-6 in 2010 in East Lansing.
Michigan State is coached by Mark Dantonio. The Spartans only loss came at Notre Dame 17-13. Michigan State has home wins over Western Michigan 26-13, South Florida 21-6, Youngstown State 55-17, Indiana 42-28 and last week against Purdue Purdue 14-0 along with a road win at Iowa 26-14. The Spartans are 3-3-1 ATS and the total is 3-4 this season. Michigan State was a 28 point favorite at home against Purdue and the total was 44.5.
Michigan State took a 7-0 lead at halftime against Purdue on a 45 yard fumble return for a touchdown. The Spartans would add another touchdown midway through the fourth to take a lackluster 14-0 win. Michigan State made it past the Purdue 32 only once on the fourth quarter touchdown drive. Purdue had 226 total yards and 14 first downs. Michigan State had 294 total yards including 182 rushing yards. The Boilermakers had the only 2 turnovers of the game.
Michigan State is outscoring teams 28-14 this season. The Spartans are #4 nationally in points allowed. On offense, Michigan State is averaging 363.1 total yards per game including 186.1 rushing yards and 177 passing yards. The Spartans are #95 in total offense and #107 in passing out of 125 teams in FBS. On defense, MSU is allowing 227.4 yards per game including 168.9 passing and 58.6 rushing yards. The Spartans lead the nation in total and rushing defense and are #4 against the pass. Michigan State is +5 in turnovers with 13 takeaways. The Spartans are averaging 70 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 52. MSU is 54/121 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 33/117. The Spartans have forced 16 sacks and allowed 4 this season. Michigan State is 20/23 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns, and opponents are 11/13 with 9 touchdowns. The Spartans have 5 defensive touchdowns this season.
Michigan State has used 3 quarterbacks this season. Connor Cook has completed 56.9% of his passes for 1,030 yards with 9 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 36 carries for 130 yards. Andrew Maxwell has thrown for 114 yards with no touchdowns or picks, and also has a few carries for minimal yardage. Cook will start for the foreseeable future but Maxwell could see some snaps. Freshman Tyler O’Connor has also taken a few snaps this season. Running back Jeremy Langford has 119 carries, 551 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Nick Hill has 42 carries, 219 yards and a touchdown, along with 2 catches. Receiver MacGarrett Kings Jr. has 25 catches, 287 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bennie Fowler has 18 catches for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 21 rushing yards. He is questionable with a hamstring injury. Aaron Burbridge has 17 catches for 146 yards. Tony Lippett has 17 catches for 183 yards.
Illinois is coached by Tim Beckman. The Fighting Illini have home wins over Southern Illinois 42-34, Cincinnati 45-17, and Miami-(OH) 50-14. Illinois has home losses to Washington 34-24 and Wisconsin 56-32 last week and a road loss at Nebraska 39-19. The Illini are 3-3 ATS and the total is 4-2 this season. Illinois was an 14.5 point underdog against Wisconsin and the total was 55.
Wisconsin took an early 21-0 lead at Illinois last week, but Illinois would close the gap to 28-17 by halftime. The Badgers scored two third quarter touchdowns to put the game out of reach 42-17. Illinois scored in the fourth and made a two point conversion to pull within 42-25, but Wisconsin added two more scores to go up 56-25. The Fighting Illini would add another late touchdown to make the final 56-32. Wisconsin had 478 total yards including 289 rushing yards. Illinois had 391 total yards including 319 passing yards. The Illini had the only 2 turnovers of the game. The Badgers had 8 penalties for 93 yards.
The Illini are outscoring teams 35-32 so far this season. Illinois is #98 out of 125 teams nationally in points allowed. Illinois is averaging 446.2 total yards a game including 287.7 passing yards and 158.4 rushing yards. On defense, Illinois is giving up 454.5 total yards per game including 243.5 passing yards and 211 rushing yards. Illinois is 84th or worse nationall in all three categories. The Illini are -4 in turnovers with 5 takeaways. Illinois is 44/91 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 32/82. Illinois is 22/27 scoring in the red zone with 17 touchdowns and opponents are 26/29 with 19 touchdowns. The Illini average 45 penalty yards per game and opponents average 67. Illinois has forced 5 sacks and allowed 15 this season. The Illini have one kick return for a touchdown.
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase has completed 65.7% of his passes for 1,546 yards with 12 touchdowns and 4 picks, along with 52 carries for 60 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Running back Josh Ferguson has 56 carries for 335 yards and 2 touchdowns, and is also the leading receiver with 26 catches, 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. Donovonn Young has 66 carries, 281 yards and 3 touchdowns. Aaron Bailey has 17 carries for 85 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Ryan Lankford has 14 catches, 286 yards and a touchdown. Martize Barr has 20 catches, 206 yards and a touchdown. Matt LaCosse has 3 touchdown catches. Jon Davis, and Evan Wilson each have two touchdown catches. Three defensive players are listed as questionable or out Saturday.
Michigan State is 4-0 ATS on fieldturf, 3-0-1 after allowing 275 total yards or less, and after allowing 20 points or less, 9-1-1 in road games, 4-1 in October, 15-4-2 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 3-1-1 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards and overall, 4-10 after passing for less than 170 yards. The favorite 8-1 ATS in the last 9 in this series. The Spartans 8-1 ATS in the last 9 against the Illini, including 4-0 in Champaign.
Illinois is 2-5 ATS after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 9-24 after a double digit home loss, 7-19 after passing for more than 280 yards, 4-11 overall, 7-20 against teams with winning road records, 3-9 after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, 3-10 on fieldturf, 2-7 after failing to cover, 2-8 after a straight up loss, and after allowing 450 total yards or more, 3-13 in Big Ten games, 2-9 against teams with winning records, 0-4 after allowing 40 points or more, and 0-5 in October.
Michigan State has the nation’s top defense, but sometimes can struggle on offense. Illinois has an explosive offense but struggles on defense. I like Michigan State to win another close low scoring game on the road.
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