Michigan at Michigan State College Football Expert Picks
If you’re ready for some college football against the spread picks, then you’ve come to the right place.
The Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans staged one of the most memorable – and improbable games in recent college football memory a year ago and could very well do the same when they square off in a huge Week 8 Big Ten battle that could determine the postseason fates of both gridiron programs in 2016.
Now, let’s find out if Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan squad can cover the spread as slight road favorites against Mark Dantonio’s Michigan State Spartans.
A Closer Look At The Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans College Football Expert Picks
When: Saturday, October 29
NCAAF Odds: Michigan -2
Bet The Michigan Wolverines at -2 Because…
Jim Harbaugh has Michigan Wolverines (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS) back on the map as a national title contender, but the Wolverines, like many other four-team playoff hopefuls, have questions they need to answer as they get set for their regular season opener.
First and foremost, Michigan needs to find a replacement for graduated starting quarterback Jake Rudock. Harbaugh has some options on the table in former Houston starter John O’Korn, sophomore Wilton Speight and junior Shane Morris. Right now, I believe the likely pick will be Speight, who has the best arm of the three.
Whoever starts at quarterback will have a trio of experienced receivers in All-American tight end Jake Butt, All-Big Ten wideout Jehu Chesson and fifth-year senior Amara Darboh. The trio combined for 159 catches, 2,145 yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
Michigan returns four of its five starting offensive linemen but will need to improve a rushing attack that ranked a modest 85th nationally a year ago with leading rusher De’Veon Smith rushing for a team-high 753 yards. Smith will be back for his senior season, but he’s expected to share some of the workload with fellow running back Ty Isaac.
The Wolverines have a new defensive coordinator with Harbaugh hiring Boston College architect Don Brown the job after D.J. Durkin left for Maryland.
Defensively, the Wolverines and their fourth-ranked defense are mostly intact, starting with All-America cornerback Jourdan Lewis and All-America hybrid safety/linebacker Jabrill Peppers while the defensive line is solid and deep despite losing tackle Willie Henry to the NFL Draft.
Bet The Michigan State Spartans at +2 Because…
Michigan State (12-2 SU, 5-8-1 ATS) had a fantastic 12-win season in 2015 and narrowly missed out on playoff berth, despite finishing in the AP Top 10 for the third straight season.
The Spartans have seven returning starters but will be going with a new starting quarterback with all-time passing leader Connor Cook off to the NFL. Fifth-year senior Tyler O’Connor is the likely starter in 2016, but right now, that’s not etched in stone.
The Michigan State Spartans have inexperienced offensive line and wide receiving units, although blossoming dual-threat sophomore running back LJ Scott will help ease the transition to their new starting signal-caller.
The good news for the Spartans is that they could be even better defensively than they were in finishing 26th overall last season. Michigan State could have an All-American at every level in junior defensive lineman Malik McDowell, fifth-year senior middle linebacker Riley Bullough and safety Montae Nicholson.
Cornerbacks Darian Hicks and sophomore Vayante Copeland are expected to start, but both are coming off injury-plagued campaigns in 2015 and could end up as a nickel back.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
Okay college football betting enthusiasts, let’s get down to business.
While everyone is enamored with the satellite camp loving Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan Wolverines heading into 2016, I just don’t believe they should be favored against a Michigan State team that matches up very well with them in all three phases of the game.
I know Michigan is seeking some big-time revenge for their still, mind-numbing 27-23 loss to the Spartans that came on the game’s final play, but I like the Spartans in this contest.
First and foremost, Michigan State has a head coach in Mark Dantonio that I believe is as good as there is in the game today. With both teams having new starting quarterbacks in this affair,
I’m expecting Michigan State running back L.J. Scott to be the best player on the field in this matchup while Tyler O’Connor outplays whoever starts under center for the Wolverines.
The Spartans have won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings (8-0 ATS) against their long-time in-state rivals, even if the majority of those victories didn’t come against Harbaugh-led ballclubs.
Michigan State wins and covers the college football against the spread betting line at home!
My Pick: Michigan State 21 Michigan 20