The Indian Hoosiers (3-0) will look to remain undefeated on the season Saturday afternoon when they host the #24 ranked Michigan State Spartans (1-1). Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM EST at Memorial Stadium and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Taking a look at the Week 4 college football odds, the books opened with Michigan State as a 4.5-point road favorite. That line has remained unchanged after early betting, as the Spartans are currently listed at -4.5. The total for the game is sitting at 48.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Indiana vs Michigan State
Michigan State has had plenty of time to prepare for their first Big 10 Conference game of the year this weekend, as they had a bye in Week 3. It couldn’t have come at a better time for the Spartans, as the start to their season has been extremely troubling. After barely scraping by Utah State in Week 1, they lost a shocking 16-13 road decision against the surprising Arizona State Sun Devils. Despite heading into the season ranked #11 nationally, a loss this weekend would drop Michigan State out of the Top 25. A lot is riding on the continued development of sophomore QB Brian Lewerke, who has looked much improved this season. He is currently averaging 300.5 yards passing per game and has completed almost 70% of his passes while also throwing three touchdowns. The Spartans really need to try and kick-start their rushing attack, as they are currently averaging just 114 yards per game on the ground.
On the other side of the ball, Michigan State is currently giving up an average of 23.5 points per game which is 62nd overall nationwide. The Spartans have also looked extremely strong against the run, as they are giving up an average of just 34.0 yards per game on the ground (1st). However, their passing defense has been absolutely terrible as opposing teams have averaged a whopping 349.5 yards per game through the air (125th).
Indiana is coming off an impressive 38-10 victory over Ball State last weekend after defeating FIU and Virginia in Weeks 1 and 2. The Hoosiers have looked extremely balanced on offense with QB Peyton Ramsey at the helm. Through three games, Ramsey is completing 73.7 percent of his passes for 479 yards and five touchdowns. RB Stevie Scott leads the way for Indiana on the ground, rushing for 388 yards and three touchdowns since the start of the season.
The Hoosiers have been pretty impressive defensively, as they’ve been allowing opponents to score an average of 18.0 points per game (33rd overall) on 322.7 total yards (36th). Breaking things down a bit further, Indiana is giving up an average of 187.3 rushing yards per game (95th) which is slightly alarming. However, they are also one of the best teams in the entire country against the pass, as opponents have averaged just 135.3 yards per game through the air (8th).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Michigan State -4.5
This is an extremely tough spot, especially when considering how mediocre Michigan State has looked so far this season despite being ranked so highly to start the year. Part of me is extremely tempted to take the home team, especially since they have yet to lose a game and have a ton of momentum heading into this all-important Big 10 Conference game. The only part of the Spartan offense that’s looked even halfway decent has been their passing game, but going up against a top 10 passing defense is certainly going to be a challenge. Yes, Indiana has been pretty brutal against the run – however, I’m not sure that really helps Michigan State all that much because they have looked just as bad rushing the ball.
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Michigan State is 4-1 ATS over their past five meetings with Indiana while also going 6-2 ATS over their past eight games following an ATS loss. Meanwhile, Indiana is just 2-6-1 ATS over their past nine games on field-turf and a brutal 3-12-1 ATS over their past sixteen conference games. It is also notable that Indiana is just 2-9-1 ATS over their past twelve games overall.
In spite of all the reasons to back Indiana in this particular match-up – including the fact they are also currently getting 4.5 points -I just can’t shake the feeling that Dantonio will have his troops fired up and ready to make a big statement on the road this weekend. I’m fulling expecting this one to stay relatively close throughout, but I think the Spartans turn things around on the ground this weekend against a weak Hoosiers run defense. While it might not be pretty, I think Michigan State grinds out a 7-10 point win to get back above .500.