The Oregon Ducks (8-4) are set to take on the Michigan State Spartans (7-5) in the 2018 RedBox Bowl (formally the Foster Farms Bowl). Kickoff is set for 3:00 EST on Monday, December 31st at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. The game will be televised nationally on FOX.
Oddsmakers opened up this game at Oregon -1.5, but that has gone up slightly with the Ducks currently at -2.5. The total for this contest is currently sitting at 48 points.
RedBox Bowl Point Spread & Game Preview: Michigan State vs Oregon
Despite all the talk surrounding Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, the Spartans were considered a legit threat to win the Big Ten East and make the 4-team playoff. Michigan State had 19 returning starters from a 10-win team. While the defense was good enough to be a playoff team, the offense was not. The Spartans T-122nd in scoring offense (19.8 ppg) and 13th in scoring defense (18.0 ppg).
It just goes to show how much offense matters now a days in college football. It will be interesting to see if the extra practice time will help the offense break out of his shell in the bowl game. It will be the 11th time in the 12 years under Mark Dantonio that the Spartans are going bowling. They come in with a 5-5 record. The most recent was a 42-17 win over Washington State in last year’s Holiday Bowl.
The Ducks came into the season in a very similar role as Michigan State. Most were picking Washington or Stanford in the Pac-12 North, but a lot of people though Oregon was a legit sleeper, as they had 14 returning starters and what many believe to be a future NFL quarterback in Justin Herbert. The Ducks were playing as well as anyone to start the year. They opened 5-1 with a upset win over Washington and the only loss coming in overtime to Stanford (led 24-7 at half). They just couldn’t keep it going and a loss to Washington State really seemed to suck the life out of this team.
While this is head coach Mario Cristobal’s first full season with the Ducks, he did coach the team in last year’s Las Vegas Bowl, which Oregon lost 38-28 as a 7-point favorite. The Ducks haven’t won a bowl game since losing to Ohio State in the title game of the 2014 playoffs.
2018 RedBox Bowl Free Pick & Betting Predictions: Oregon -2.5
My early lean here would be to lay the points with the Ducks. I just think the price is right to take a shot on the Ducks. More than anything, I just don’t know how you can trust the Michigan State offense to score enough to win this game.
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As good as the Spartans defense is, and it’s really good, I have to think an NFL-caliber quarterback like Justin Herbert is going to be able to figure out a way to put points on the board. I also think it favors the offense some in these bowl games, as the games are typically played in favorable conditions and the offense has had a month to figure out what they are going to see from the opposing defense.
The best news that Oregon got leading up to this game is that Herbert is going to pass on leaving early for the NFL Draft and stick around Eugene for his senior season. That’s huge for a Ducks team that is going to have a ton of guys coming back next year. I think they have been using this practice time as the start of something special next year.
A couple years ago, Oregon’s defense was atrocious and I think there’s still the perception out there that this is not a great defensive team. While they are far from elite, they have been trending in the right direction. I think most importantly is they were strong against the run (3.8 yards/carry). If Rutgers can go into East Lansing and hold the Spartans to 14 points and 310 total yards, the Ducks can do the same.
I just think you are going to have something like a 24-14 type of game and the fact that we are getting the Ducks under a field goal is just too good to pass up. Give me Oregon -2.5!