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Iowa vs. Michigan State ATS Picks

NCAAF Week 5 Lines

The Iowa Hawkeyes are already in a bit of gut check time. They were beaten in their first Big Ten game of the season by Penn State, and they know that a second loss in conference play before they get the chance to play Wisconsin will very likely end any hope they have of winning the Big Ten West. That’s what makes this game on the road against the Michigan State Spartans so intriguing in Week 5 in spite of the fact that neither of these teams enter this week with a Top 25 ranking.

Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans
Date and Time
: Saturday, September 30, 2017, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Opening College Football Odds: Michigan State -2.5
Iowa vs. Michigan State TV Coverage: FOX

Iowa might not have picked up a win last week against the Nittany Lions, but they sure did gain some respect on the national stage. Their 21-19 loss was a thing of sheer ugliness, but that’s the way they play football. They didn’t quite have enough in the end, but they definitely justified their 3-0 start to the season and the fact that they weren’t even two touchdown underdogs against what was then the No. 4 team in America.

The Hawkeyes did everything they could, but they just couldn’t slow down Saquon Barkley long enough to win the game. Nathan Stanley threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns without getting picked off, and Akrum Wadley had 80 yards on 19 carries against a really good defense. But Barkley had 211 yards and a touchdown, and Trace McSorely accounted for another almost 350 yards of offense. You’re not winning games in this conference like that, and Iowa was fortunate just to be sticking around in the end of the game with a legitimate chance to win.

Michigan State is a team we still have more questions for than answers. The first question? Will the real Spartans please stand up?

Is Mark Dantonio’s team that came out and shellacked Bowling Green and Western Michigan the real MSU this year? Or is it the team that had absolutely no answers for Notre Dame’s offense in a 38-18 loss that had most of the crowd out of the stadium by the end of the third quarter?

We tend to think that it’s somewhere in the middle. The Spartans are much better this year than they were in their odd 2016 campaign, but they also aren’t necessarily Big Ten contenders yet, especially in the stacked East.

Key Player

Brian Lewerke had some darn good stats at the end of the day against the Notre Dame defense. He threw for 340 yards and rushed for 56 more, accounting for a pair of touchdowns.

However, Lewerke also made the biggest mistake of the game, throwing the pick six five minutes into the game that put MSU in a 14-0 hole it would never come out of.

We know that Lewerke can play football, but we also know that he’s prone to too many mistakes. One is too many against an Iowa team that flat out doesn’t beat itself and always seems to put itself into positions to win games, even against some of the best clubs in America.

Iowa vs. Michigan State Free Picks

Sometimes teams gain a huge bump from all of the sportsbooks’ oddsmakers, even in a losing situation. Iowa was on the national scene last week playing in primetime in Iowa City, and it was one final collapse on defense away from pulling off what would have been one of the bigger upsets of the season.

Now, the Hawkeyes are only +2.5 on the road in East Lansing, and they’re going to be incredibly public.

That said, we still think this MSU team is going to end up being alright this year. Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State it isn’t, but if the Spartans can go even 1-2 in those games and clean up the rest of the way, their season will be considered a grand success. This one is headed for the win column.

College Football ATS Pick: Michigan State -2.5 at
College Football Score Prediction: Michigan State 28, Iowa 20