Week 4 Big Ten College Football Picks: Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats

Michigan State at Northwestern

Time: 11 AM CST Saturday

Spread: MICST -10

Total: 39.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

Michigan State is 2-1 after its week 3 loss to Arizona State. The Spartans travel to face Big Ten foe Northwestern this week as 10-point favorites according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will kick off at 11 AM CST Saturday on ABC, and it has an over/under set at 39.5 points.

MSU

Michigan State fell 7-10 last week to Arizona State after having scored 79 points through its first two weeks, both wins (over Tulsa and Western Michigan). The Spartans game-tying field goal was negated and Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin rushed a 1-yard TD score with 50 seconds to go as Michigan fell from Its No. 18 ranking to unranked this week in Week 4.

The Spartans got 24 of 38 passing from starting quarterback Brian Lewerke, but he did not throw any TD passes, with the lone score for the Spartans coming on a rush from Elijah Collins, who finished with 72 yards on 19 carries. Lewerke ranked No. 2 in rushing yardage with 25 total yards on his 10 attempts, and Michigan State averaged just 7.5 yards-per-reception and just 3.2 yards-per-rush. Darrell Stewart Jr. led all receivers with nine catches for 121 yards, and Matt Seybert added another 50 yards on his two catches.

Michigan State has got good overall play from Lewerke thus far. He has thrown 63.6 percent for completion with four TD passes and just one interception on the season. He has also been sacked just twice (for a total loss of 11-yards). Collins has been steady but not sensational. The No.1 back is averaging 6.4 yards-per-attempt on his 44 carries, but he has just one TD rush through three games. Connor Heyward averages just 3.0 yards-per-carry, and Lewerke ranks No. 3 in total yardage with 60 yards, but, he too, averages just 3.3 yards-per-attempt. The Spartans are turning to Stewart for most of its passing gains: He has 362 yards on 25 catches and No. 2 is Cody White’s 120 yards on 12 catches. Tight ends Matt Dodson and Matt Seybert has combined for 13 catches and 142 yards between them.

NW

Northwestern lost its season opener to then-No. 25 Stanford, but it won Game 2 with a 30-14 victory over UNLV. Now, it begins its Big Ten schedule.

Northwestern quarterback Hunter Johnson struggled in the win over UNLV. He threw just 12 of 25 (48 percent) for 165 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Drake Anderson did a great job as a lead rusher, carrying 26 of Northwestern’s 50 attempts for a total of 141 yards and a touchdown. Johnson was good rushing, too, with 55 yards on 11 attempts and a TD. The Wildcats got another 79 yards from Jesse Brown on just nine attempts, and it averaged 5.5 yards-per-carry as a team with 276 total rushing yards.

JJ Jefferson caught two passes for 61 yards and a TD, and Bennett Skowronek was No. 2 in yardage with 57 yards on four catches. Anderson attempted just three rushes in Week 1 and gained just five yards on those attempts. He was dominant in Week 2, and the Wildcats will need him in top form to have any chance against the Spartans. Skowronek has been a consistent source of yardage with 57 in week 2 and his other 53 yards in week 1. He has nine catches on the season, with No. 2 and No. 3 being JJ Jefferson and Kyric McGowan, who have caught three apiece.

ATS TRENDS (C/o Covers):

Michigan State
  • Spartans are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
  • Spartans are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
  • Spartans are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
  • Spartans are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
  • Spartans are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games overall.
  • Spartans are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Northwestern
  • Wildcats are 5-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Wildcats are 20-6-1 ATS in their last 27 conference games.
  • Wildcats are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
  • Wildcats are 8-3-1 ATS in their last 12 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
  • Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Wildcats are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games following a ATS loss.
  • Wildcats are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games in September.
  • Wildcats are 2-5-2 ATS in their last 9 home games.
  • Wildcats are 2-5-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a straight up win.
  • Wildcats are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
  • Wildcats are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game.
  • Wildcats are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
  • Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
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