Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines
Date and Time: Saturday, October 7, 2017, 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
Opening College Football Odds: Michigan -12
Michigan State vs. Michigan TV Coverage: ABC
Michigan has really taken care of business to start off the season. The Wolverines are 4-0 with four solid, yet unspectacular victories. They haven't beaten a team by more than 22 points, yet they haven't been involved in a single-digit game either. All in all, it's rather, "Meh."
Yet the Wolverines continue to have one of the better defenses in the nation, and that's why they're potentially on the road towards the College Football Playoff this year. This unit has yet to allow a fourth quarter point on the season and is conceding a total of just 13.5 points per game. If this offense can figure out how to get just a little bit better, this defense is going to end up looking downright frightening.
Last year at this time, Brian Lewerke was splitting reps as a freshman for the Spartans. Now, this is his job, and he isn't giving it up.
Last week's game against Iowa was a bit of a return to old school Michigan State football. The Spartans won 17-10, and they did so by running the snot out of the football even though they weren't always successful. They played stout defense, forced the Hawkeyes into a slew of punting situations, and ultimately had a talented enough quarterback to be the difference-maker.
Sparty isn't going to win games in pretty fashion if it keeps this up, but Dantonio knows that he's winning most games in which he sophomore quarterback goes 18-for-28 for 212 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions as was the case against Iowa.
4 – The number of red zone touchdowns Michigan has put on the board this year in four games.
The problem with that? The Wolverines have eight field goals. Kudos to Michigan for getting into the red zone 13 times in four games and ultimately scoring on 92.3 percent of its possessions. But the problem comes when Quinn Nordin has to trot onto the field.
Nordin has 11 field goals, tied for third-most in the country this year. He's certainly one of the best kickers in the nation and is a legitimate weapon to deploy on special teams. That said, he's on the field too much, particularly with the Wolverines in range of touchdowns. If they continue to score touchdowns at just a 30.7 percent clip as they are right now, they could find themselves in some real dogfights against snippy teams like this one.
Michigan State vs. Michigan Free Picks
Michigan is surely going to remember what happened the last time these two teams played against each other here at the Big House. The Wolverines botched a punt in the dying seconds of the game, getting it returned for a touchdown by MSU to ultimately win the game. That 27-23 loss sent shockwaves through Ann Arbor, and you can bet that Jim Harbaugh is going to be telling his team to finish the job in this game.
Though we think Big Blue isn't going to ultimately struggle in the end in this game, this is a boatload of points to be giving us in a rivalry game. The Spartans have had the inferior team these last two seasons for sure and have rarely been definitively the better of the two teams, yet they have nine straight covers in this series. We suspect they'll make it 10 in a row, even in defeat on Saturday night.
College Football ATS Pick: Michigan State +12 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Michigan 30, Michigan State 24