College Football Picks ATS: BYU Cougars at Michigan State Spartans

Not good. Nope.
Not good. Nope.

BYU-Mich St
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: MIST -5.5
Total: 49.5

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The wheels have fallen off the Michigan Spartans. After beginning the season with an easy victory over Furman and a win over a then-ranked Notre Dame team, the Spartans have dropped two straight to then-No. 11 Wisconsin—and the lowly Indiana Hoosiers. Can MSU rebound against the BYU Cougars?

College football oddsmakers seem to think so, but are still giving the Spartans just a 5.5 point edge in college football odds. That probably worries Spartan nation, but after losing to the Hoosiers, can anything be taken for granted?

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MSU fell in OT to the Hoosiers last week on a field goal, but it was an OT period that likely never should have happened. The Spartans were outscored by a TD in the final quarter and its defense just could not hold. Indiana’s Richard Lagow not only threw for two TD passes but also caught one, basically upstaging a Spartans defense that has been unexpectedly poor in 2016.

Even despite the loss, quarterback Tyler O’Connor did throw a good game. He was 21 of 35 for 263 yards and three TDs, with no interceptions. MSU also moved the ball well on the ground, getting 175 yards from its assortment of backfield options. The offense really was not the issue. R.J. Shelton certainly was not, with 141 yards on seven catches and a TD. It is just that Michigan State has no business giving up over 400 yards to a mediocre conference foe in the Hoosiers.

Devine Redding had his way rushing the football, and Ricky Jones had a field day catching it (124 yards on five receptions). MSU simply has to do better, and even BYU presents enough challenges that this 5.5 point spread is hardly indicative of what pre-season expectations would have dictated.

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All these things about MSU, but BYU is hardly a powerhouse of any sorts. The Cougars are 2-3 on the season with wins over Arizona (Week 1) and Toledo (last week), but three consecutive losses sandwiched in-between against Utah, UCLA and West Virginia. It is somewhat difficult to draw a lot of meaningful observations from BYU, largely due to the team’s inconsistency. It hung 55 points on Toledo last week, but managed just 14 in its Week 3 loss to UCLA. Which team will show up?

Probably the one that Taysom Hill lets show up. He has been inconsistent and has his struggles, but is a good quarterback capable of more. He needs to avoid some of the mental mistakes and rushed passes that have led to some pretty resolvable issues:

Hill has thrown for 1,117 yards on the season at a 59.6 percent clip, but he has struggled badly with accuracy in throwing six picks to just five TDs. Heh has rushed for another 228 yards and two TDs, but the only thing keeping BYU from being pretty bad is really Jamaal Williams. The leading rusher has gone for 703 yards and boasts a 6.5 yard per carry average, while also having accounted for eight of the squad’s 12 rushing TDs.

Now a senior, Williams is having his most productive season since 2013 when he rushed for over 1,200 yards. But his eight TDs already trump that year, and the productive four-year back will keep BYU in this game. It may even be enough to emerge with the underdog ‘W,’ because, as we said to begin this: the wheels are off MSU, and fans may expect only the worst at this point.

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