The Michigan State Spartans (1-0) will host the Western Michigan Broncos (0-1) in what could be an exciting game. Kickoff is set for 3:30 EST at Spartan Stadium and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Oddsmakers currently have the Spartans listed as a 7-point home favorite with the total at 50 points. Click here for a full list of the week 1 betting odds and more links to game previews.
Michigan State vs Western Michigan Vegas Game Line & Betting Preview
The Broncos surprised a lot of people with how well they played in their opener at USC. Western Michigan was tied 28-28 with a Top 5 team in the 4th quarter. They ended up losing 31-49, but cashed in an easy cover for their backers as a 28-point dog.
The most shocking thing with Western Michigan’s performance was the offense imposed their will and rushed for 263 yards on 48 attempts (5.5 yards/carry) against what most consider a decent Power 5 defense. The passing game on the other hand wasn’t really a factor. Starting quarterback Jon Wassink completed 11 of 22 for a mere 67 yards.
Most expected Michigan State to be improved from last year’s 3-9 squad, but how much improved was up for debate. They got out of the gates with an encouraging 35-10 win over Bowling Green at home. The Spartans hung on to cover as a 18-point favorite with the game staying under the total of 56.
The offense showed some promise with 200+ yards both passing and on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke was impressive with 250 yards and 3 TD passes on 22 of 33 passing. He also rushed for a team-high 69 yards. What really stood out to me was the defense, which held the Falcons to just 212 total yards and 9 first downs on the game. Bowling Green’s only touchdown came on a 46-yard fumble return by their defense.
Free College Football Betting Prediction: UNDER 50
I don’t have a great feel for either side on the spread, but do think there’s some value on the total. I think the over/under mark of 50 points is a bit too high for these teams. I’m not the only one, as this total has gone down from the original number of 51.5.
Click on the link for more free college football picks against the spread and total for this week’s games.
I know Western Michigan just scored 39-points on the road against USC, but that was with no production from their passing game. Even in a horrible 3-win season, Michigan State only gave up 4.1 yards/carry against the run on the season. They held Bowling Green to 67 yards on 24 attempts (2.8 yards/carry).
If they struggle to pick up yards through the air against the Spartans, they are going to have a hard time sustaining drives and converting touchdowns if they do reach the red zone. The thing is, unless this turns into a blowout, they likely aren’t going to turn stop looking to run the ball. If they do score, those drives figure to eat up a ton of clock.
As for Michigan State’s offense, I wouldn’t get too excited with their showing against Bowling Green. While the Falcons just a couple years ago were one of the top programs in the MAC, they only won 4 games last year and allowed 38.3 ppg and 464 ypg. Not to mention they allowed 70+ points to both Ohio State and Memphis on the road.
I’m also not going to overreact to Western Michigan allowing 49 points to potentially one of the best offenses in the country in USC. They held their own on that side of the ball for the majority of that game and didn’t allow a touchdown pass to star QB Sam Darnold. Snapping his streak of 9 straight games with at least 2 or more TD passes.
Michigan State head coach Mark D’Antonio wanted to get back to smash mouth football this year, so don’t get too excited about the passing numbers. I look for the Spartans to have a similar plan of attack as the Broncos and try to grind out possessions with their running game and win with their defense. A perfect recipe for a low-scoring game.