Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines
Saturday, 10/9/10, 3:30 PM EDT, TV: ABC
Opening Point Spread: Michigan -4
Current Betting Line: Michigan -5
Opening Total: 63
Current Total: 64.5
Michigan State makes the trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan with a perfect 5-0 record and 1-0 in conference play. The Spartans are seeking their third-straight win in the series for the first time since 1965-67 and will have added incentive in proving victorious with head coach Mark Dantonio’s return. He is expected to coach from the press box due to still recovering from a mild heart attack. “You can’t keep me down Michigan week,” he stated. “It’s good to be back – again.” Five of the last seven games in the series have been decided by eight points or less, including three overtime games. The roster features 63 players from the state of Michigan, including 14 of the 24 projected starters. A key stat to the series has been rushing yards, with the most productive ground attack winning 37 of the last 40 games. The squad is 2-7 against the college football spreads as an underdog in its last nine chances and the total is 8-1 O/U in those contests.
The Spartans offense averages 36.2 points per game in 2010 and has outrushed the Wolverines 364-112 in the last two meetings. Michigan State ranks fourth in the Big 10 and 20th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 220.2 yards per game. Sophomore Edwin Baker (107.2 ypg) and freshman Le’Veon Bell (94.2 ypg) rank fourth and sixth respectively in the Big Ten in rushing. Under Dantonio, the team is 21-7 when outrushing their opponent, including a perfect 5-0 this season. The Spartans defense is coming off one of their best performances in years, holding a stout Wisconsin offense to 292 yards. MSU handled the strength of the Badgers, but now must deal with the speed of Michigan. Michigan State is 3-7 ATS off a win against a conference rival.
Michigan is set to host the 103rd meeting with its in-state rival and holds a 67-30-5 all-time advantage in the series and a 7-3 edge in the last 10 games. The home team has won 14 of the last 18 games in the series, with the lone road victories coming in 1997, 2003 and 2005 by the Wolverines and 2008 by the Spartans. Michigan is ranked in the top 25 of the national polls for the fourth consecutive week, bringing in a perfect 5-0 record, including a 42-35 road win over Indiana last week. This will be the fifth time that head coach Rich Rodriguez will face Dantonio, as he picked up the first two games when the pair were coaching in the Big East Conference, but is looking for his first win in this series. The squad is 4-11 ATS in its last 15 games as a favorite and the total is 8-6 O/U in those games.
The Wolverines enter ranked second in the nation in total offense with 565 yards per game. Michigan has rushed for more than 280 yards in each of their five games this season, including an incredible 466 against Bowling Green two weeks ago. QB Denard Robinson has established himself as frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, as he’s been the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week in three of five weeks. He has led the team to capitalize on 20-of-22 red zone chances, with 19 of those being touchdowns. “Denard is an outstanding player,” Dantonio stated. “He makes people miss. We have to swarm a lot of people to the point of attack.”
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the road team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings and the over is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Michigan. Maddux has no opinion on the side of this game but the Over looks like another pretty good bet even at 64. We do have some stronger bets lined up for our members on the Saturday card and you can get those by visiting our winning college football picks section of the site.