The Michigan State Spartans will open up the 2017 season at home against the Bowling Green Falcons. Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST on Saturday, Sept. 2nd at Spartan Stadium. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU.

Want to get some action on this game? Oddsmakers currently have Michigan State listed anywhere from a 17.5 to 18 point favorite with a total of 56.5 points. Click here for more Week 1 betting lines and game previews.

Michigan State vs Bowling Green Vegas Odds & Game Preview

Things took a shocking turn for the worse in East Lansing last year. Just one season removed from winning the Big Ten title and playing in the CFB Playoffs, the Spartans plummeted to 3-9. The only conference win coming against Rutgers, who went 0-9 in league play.

It’s not going to be easy for head coach Mark Dantonio to get Michigan State back to being a powerhouse. The Spartans are the least experienced team in the Big Ten with just 8 returning starters. They also lost some promising young players who were dismissed from the program, as well as some key players transferring to other schools.

Bowling Green had a similar down turn in 2016. After finishing 10-4 and winning the MAC for a second time in 3 seasons, the Falcons went just 4-8. On the bright side, they were able to finish strong, closing out the year on a 3-game winning streak. They also had 3 losses by a touchdown or less.

The struggles came in the first year under head coach Mike Jinks, who stepped into a tough situation with just 9 returning starters. The Falcons only have 12 starters back for 2017, but only lost 15 lettermen from last year. While not expected to be a threat to win the MAC East, improvement is expected in year two under Jinks.

Free NCAA Football Betting Selection: Bowling Green +18

I just feel there are way too many question marks with Michigan State to lay this many points. If I had to take a side right now, I would lean towards the Falcons keeping it close.

The Spartans have a mere 4 starters back from an offense that managed just 24.1 ppg in 2016. Sophomore Brian Lewerke is the new starting quarterback and will be working with a receiving corps that lost 3 of their 4 pass catchers. Michigan State also has to replace three starters on the o-line, including both tackles.

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The expectation is for the Spartans to go back to being a more physical run first team. That should work in our favor here, as that should lead to a slower paced game.

At least when Michigan State has the ball. Bowling Green likes to play fast and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Falcons gave an inexperienced Spartans defense some trouble. BG gets back sophomore starting QB James Morgan, who showed flashes in his freshman season. The most notable being a game at Toledo, where he threw for 335 yards and 5 touchdowns. He’s got his go to guy back in junior wide out Scott Miller (74 catches, 968 yards, 10 TDs).

The Falcons’ run defense was pretty average last year, giving up 191 ypg and 4.7 yards/carry. They have 6 of their top 8 guys back on the d-line and have some talent at linebacker. As long as they can keep Michigan State from running wild, they should be able to keep the Spartans offense in check.

Michigan State has been a good fade this time of year. They are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games played in September. They are also just 1-7 in their last 9 non-conference games. It’s also worth noting that over the last 3 seasons, the Spartans are a mere 4-14 ATS when listed as a favorite.