A big time matchup takes place in the Big Ten Conference this week. The #11 Wisconsin Badgers travel to the Great Lakes State as they battle the #8 Michigan State Spartans Saturday afternoon. The contest is set for a 12:00 pm ET kickoff from Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. The game is nationally televised on the Big Ten Network. The current odds show Michigan State as a 5 point favorite in the contest with the over/under set at 43 points.
Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Vegas Betting Preview
Wisconsin ran their record to 3-0 by holding off Georgia State 23-17 at home last week. Michigan State improved to 2-0 by going on the road and dumping #18 Notre Dame 36-28 last week. This marks the 53rd all-time meeting between the conference foes. Michigan State won the last meeting 16-13 in Madison back in 2012. The Spartans have taken three of the last four meetings overall.
Free Pick and Betting Spread Prediction: Michigan State -5
Wisconsin had a tougher time than expected dealing with Sun Belt opponent Georgia State. The Badgers led only 6-0 at the half and trailed 17-13 with less than 12 minutes to play. Wisconsin scored twice in the last 7:25 of the game to get the win and avoid the upset. It was still a disappointing performance for a Badgers team that was favored by 35 points. Wisconsin held a 400-302 edge in total yards and a 25-12 edge in first downs. The Badgers even dominated time of possession 37:28 to 22:32 but couldn’t shake the Panthers. Two turnovers and shaky quarterback play nearly doomed Wisconsin. They won’t be as fortunate in conference action with that kind of performance. The Badgers are averaging 441.7 yards of offense and 31 points per game so far this season.
Wisconsin is relying more on their defense: they allow 13.7 points a game. None of the Badgers’ first three opponents put up more than 17 points. Bart Houston is 44 of 71 passing for 527 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Alex Hornibrook is 13 of 17 for 183 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Corey Clement leads the Badgers in rushing with 197 yards and three scores. Bradrick Shaw (136 yards, TD) and Dare Ogunbowale (127 yards, TD) are solid backs as well. Robert Wheelwright (194 yards) and Jazz Peavy (178 yards, 2 TD) each have 12 catches to lead the team. Troy Fumagalli has 10 grabs for 127 yards as a third option. Rafael Gaglianone converted all 10 extra points and seven of eight field goals with a long of 48 yards.
Michigan State raced to a 36-7 edge in South Bend and held off a Notre Dame rally. After trailing 7-0 after one quarter, the Spartans reeled off 36 straight points between the second and third quarters. Michigan State held a 501-401 edge in total yards and controlled the clock, holding the ball for 37:57 in the game. The Spartans forced three Notre Dame turnovers while committing only one. After allowing the Fighting Irish to cut the lead to eight with 6:02 to play, the Spartans went three and out on offense. The defense forced Notre Dame to punt after three plays however. On the ensuing possession, Michigan State moved 59 yards and chewed up the final 3:30 off the clock to secure the win.
The Spartans are a balanced offense putting up 431 yards and 32 points per game. It’s a perfect split as Michigan State averages 215.5 yards through the air (tied for 75th in the FBS) and on the ground (41st) this year. The Spartans have 92 rushing attempts against 44 passes this season. Tyler O’Connor is 32 of 44 for 431 yards with five touchdowns and two picks. He has 54 yards on the ground. LJ Scott leads the ground game with 42 carries for 203 yards and two scores. Gerald Holmes has 13 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns. R.J. Shelton has a team leading eight receptions for 80 yards and a score. Monty Madaris (seven grabs, 125 yards) and Donnie Corley (six catches, 105 yards, TD) are secondary targets. Michael Geiger converted all eight extra points but missed his lone field goal attempt.
Wisconsin’s defense carried them to this start but unless the offense starts clicking, it won’t matter. The QB situation is one in flux and that doesn’t help the team. The run game, long the staple of the Badgers, isn’t as prolific as it once was. Michigan State is coming off a big road win over a ranked foe. They’ll be ready to play in front of a raucous home crowd. More importantly, the Spartans have veteran leadership. Look for Michigan State to win at home as the Badgers fail to move the ball. For more week 4 picks, check here!
Michigan State is 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight after an ATS win and 4-1 ATS in their last five on grass. Wisconsin is 2-5 ATS in their last seven on the road and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 conference games.