Michigan State Spartans vs. Oregon Ducks
Date and Time: Monday, December 31, 2018, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Opening CFB Odds: Oregon -1.5, 48
Michigan State vs. Oregon TV Coverage: FOX
The 2018-19 season started off ominously for the Spartans who barely survived against what turned out to be an exceptional Utah State team in its season opener. MSU only managed the 38-31 win as 24 point favorites, and then proceeded to amass just one pointspread cover in its next four games. Sparty then won and covered three of their next four with the lone loss at home to Michigan, but then closed the season 1-2 SU and ATS with the lone triumph coming against Rutgers in a game they grossly failed to cover the 24.5 point spread. MSU’s 4-8 ATS record is largely why the betting public has looked the way of the Ducks in this matchup.
Oregon went on to win eight of its 12 regular season games, but was never a factor in how the North Division shook up. Once again, the Ducks bring with them a rock solid offense that lit scoreboards up for over 37 points per game while racking up nearly 450 yards per game. The problem area once again was a defense that got gouged through the air ( No. 94 ) and an average of 29.3 points per game in Pac-12 play. Their ability to limit Michigan State’s passing attack will go a long way in deciding who comes out the victor in this matchup.
Player To Watch
Justin Herbert – It was an up and down season for the junior gunslinger. He threw for a shade under 3000 yards and completed just under 60 percent of his 371 passing attempts. While the 28:8 TD/INT ratio ranked out as one of the best in the nation, he failed to log 300 or more passing yards in all but one of his nine appearances in conference play. MSU possesses the nation’s No. 1 ranked run defense that only concedes 81.3 points per game at a miniscule 2.7 yards per carry; only Clemson was better in the latter respect. Where Michigan State faltered was defending the pass ( No. 65 ) but it only gave up an average of 6.2 yards per pass attempt ( No. 22 ). That means it gave stuff up underneath but rarely deep. Oregon loves to dink and dunk with its running backs out of the backfield, so it will be imperative for the Ducks to succeed in that area to have much of any offensive success against a rested Spartans outfit that’s had ample time to game plan for this matchup.
Matchup To Watch
This battle is expected to be close throughout with linemakers initially opening the Ducks up as short 1.5 point favorites with a game total of 48. With Oregon expected to score in the neighborhood of 25 points and the Spartans around 23, the kicking games are likely to play a large role in the final outcome of this matchup. Advantage Spartans if that turns out to be the case. Michigan State ranks No. 17 in the country with an 84.2 field goal conversion percentage, while Oregon checks in at a woeful No. 126 with a 54.6 percent conversion rate. There was never a shortage of opposing field goal attempts with each of these teams ranked in the bottom third of the country in that department. The Ducks conceded an average of 2.2 field goal attempts per game ( No. 122 ), while the Spartans allowed 1.9 ( No. 111 ).
Bet the Redbox Bowl at BookMaker.eu
Though the Spartans closed their regular season out on a low, I have faith that Dantonio got his kids heads right for this matchup in the bowl practices leading up to it. Oregon possesses by far the better of the two offenses with MSU ranked No. 122 in scoring offense, but its defense pales in comparison to Michigan State’s. Oregon is the side that’s taken on most of the betting handle at top rated sportsbooks yet the number to beat has dropped half a point in Sparty’s favor. When it comes to choosing the Big Ten or Pac-12 in postseason play, I’m almost always going to look the way of the former. Especially with the Spartans owning a winning pedigree in the bowl season under the current coaching staff. Gimme the points!
CFB ATS Betting Pick: Michigan State +2.5 at BookMaker.eu
CFB Score Prediction: Spartans 27 – Ducks 23