Saturday’s Big Ten clash between the Buckeyes and the Spartans is a battle of two Top 18 teams looking to keep pace with the Wolverines for the lead in the Big 10 East Division. For #10 Ohio State, they have looked very beatable over the last few games. On the other hand, #18 Michigan State has looked very solid. Will OSU get back on track and knock off the Spartans or will MSU pull off another Big 10 upset this year? Kickoff inside Spartan Stadium is at 12 PM ET.
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The following odds are courtesy of BetOnline:
|Betting Data||Ohio State Buckeyes||Michigan State Spartans|
|Current S/U record||8-1||6-3|
|2018 ATS Home||3-3||1-4|
|2018 ATS Away||0-3||3-1|
|2018 O/U Home||2-4||3-2|
|2018 O/U Away||2-1||1-3|
This Saturday’s showdown in East Lansing will be the 47th time these two school have played against each other all-time. The Buckeyes hold the advantage in this head-to-head series with a record of 31-15. Since 2000, OSU has gone 11-3 against the Spartans. The Buckeyes have won 3 of the last 4 in this series and the last 6 games in East Lansing. In 2017, OSU won 47-3.
Ohio State (8-1, 5-1 Big 10) is coming off an unimpressive win over Nebraska by a score of 36-31. OSU was a 17.5 point favorite at home against Nebraska, but almost gave the game away in the 4th quarter. This was the Buckeyes’ first game following their Bye Week, which came after an embarrassing loss at Purdue a few weeks ago. Can the Buckeyes win this huge road conference game or stumble once again?
Michigan State (6-3, 4-2 Big 10) is coming off a dominant 24-3 road win against Maryland, for which their defense really shut down a powerful offense. It was the second straight win for the Spartans who have held their opponents to 21 points or less over the last 4 weeks. Not surprising, MSU has won 3 of those 4 games. The Spartans will need a great performance on offense in addition to their normal elite defensive performance. Can MSU follow Purdue’s example and beat the Buckeyes?
For the majority of sports betting sites, OSU opened at a +3.5 point favorite. The line has held steady at that number for most online sites, but there were a few books that saw the spread go as high as 5.5 points before returning to the current 3.5 line. The O/U opened anywhere from 50 to 53.5 points depending on the sportsbook. It has seen a high of 54 before settling at the current line of 52 total points.
If Ohio State wants any chance of a Big 10 title game and a spot in the CFP then they need to win out on the season and that starts this weekend in East Lansing, Michigan.
The Buckeyes have not looked good over their last three games. I’ve already discussed the Nebraska and Purdue debacles, but OSU also failed to play well against Minnesota on October 13th. The Buckeyes were a 29.5 point favorite in that game, but only won 30-14. That’s 12.2 points below their season average of 42.2 ppg. In fact, if you go one more game back then you will see that they failed to cover the 27 point spread against Indiana as well.
This game is “put up or shut up” for the Buckeyes and it all starts with their offense. In Ohio State’s two true road games this year, they only average 23.5 ppg. Furthermore, they lost at Purdue by allowing 49 points and only scoring 20 points. They will need to fix the offensive woes to have a shot at winning this game. Unfortunately, they’re going up against one of the conference’s best defenses.
Currently, the Wolverines defense is the best in the Big 10. However, MSU trails closely behind them as they allow only 325.1 total ypg. They also only allow 71.7 rushing ypg, which is one of the best rush defenses in the country. The Buckeyes will struggle to run the ball this weekend and that could cause an imbalance that they’re unprepared to overcome. Well, that’s only if the MSU passing defense can hold OSU below their allowed average of 253.4 passing ypg.
On the season, OSU averages 547.2 total ypg, 369.1 passing ypg and 178.1 rushing ypg. It’s going to be tough sledding for this Buckeyes offense to run the ball this weekend, so I expect this team to throw the ball a ton in this game.
If Michigan State had any kind of offense, I would pick them to win this battle. Unfortunately, their offense is putrid as they only score 23.4 ppg and amass 360.3 total ypg on offense. That’s what doomed them in their game against Michigan as they could only score 7 points. Their defense held Michigan to just 21 points.
Neither team has fared well ATS as OSU is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games and MSU is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games. Additionally, OSU is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games and 1-5 ATS in their 6 conference games this year. MSU is 2-5 ATS after winning 2 straight games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 grass games. Because of these numbers, I’m staying away from the spread.
The Over/Under has some potential as the MSU defense could keep this game a low scoring affair. Unfortunately, OSU’s offense can put up 52 points in a game if they’re firing on all cylinders. Don’t forget, they won 47 to 3 last year over MSU.
With that said, I believe the smart bet is on the Ohio State moneyline of -172. I think that number is low enough to provide fair value while not having to worry about OSU covering 3.5 points. OSU is 13-1 SU in their last 14 games and 21-4 SU in their last 25 road games. And, as I mentioned above, OSU is 11-3 SU in the last 14 games against MSU. Take the OSU moneyline in this compelling Big 10 conference matchup.
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