Big Ten Football Preview: Michigan State Spartans vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

No. 17 Michigan State Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes
Saturday, 11/12/11, 12:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan State -3
Current Betting Line:  Michigan State -3
Opening Total:  46.5
Current Total:  46.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Week 7College Football Lines & Odds
The Michigan State Spartans have lost seven straight road games against the Iowa Hawkeyes

Michigan State will be looking to win in Iowa City for the first time since Oct. 7, 1989, losing seven straight games inside Kinnick Stadium.  The Spartans are coming off a 31-24 win over the Minnesota Gophers as 28-point home favorites, but have actually been out-gained in their past three games, including a 24-3 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Oct. 29.  The program comes into this game with thoughts of revenge, dropping a 37-6 contest in last year’s meeting, which also served as its first loss.  “I’ve never felt anything like that in a football game,” commented Spartans fullback Todd Anderson.  Michigan State is 3-1 ATS as a road favorite the last two-plus seasons.

The Spartans rank second in the Big Ten and are tied ninth nationally with 13 interceptions.  Michigan State leads the conference in passing and total defense, while recording a league-best 21 sacks.  Defensive end William Gholston is certainly the star of the show, recording 29 tackles in the last two games.  Under head coach Mark Dantonio, the Spartans are 10-3 in November, while the squad is outscoring opponents by a significant 143-75 margin in the first half.

Iowa picked up an impressive 24-16 win over the Michigan Wolverines as 3.5-point home underdogs last week, which also snapped a two-game losing streak against the spread.  The Hawkeyes are likely to continue riding running back Marcus Coker, who is the Big Ten’s leading rusher, gaining 1,101 yards on the ground in nine games.  “He just wasn’t running decisively,” stated Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz about Coker’s early problems this year.  “It’s about as simple as that.”  Iowa is 7-2 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus seasons, while the ‘under’ is 7-3 in that situation.

The Hawkeyes have been a great home team in winning 55 of their last 66 games inside Kinnick Stadium.  Saturday will be the team’s last home game, which will provide an emotional backdrop for the senior class.  Iowa is playing its second straight ranked opponent, holding a 22-18-2 advantage in this series, with the home team winning 11 of the last 12 meetings.  Coker’s ability to go over the century mark in rushing will be the key to this game, as Michigan State is allowing just 103.6 rushing yards per game.

Bettors will likely back the Spartans due to their 8-3 ATS mark versus teams with a winning record, while the Hawkeyes are 2-6-1 ATS in conference play.

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