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Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats (+7, 41.5)
Michigan State's Aaron Burbridge is healthy but it appears he’ll have to earn his way back into the rotation of what has become a deep group of wide receivers. Burbridge was on the preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list but got off to a slow start and then a hamstring injury Oct. 19 put him on the shelf the last three games. Wide receivers Bennie Fowler and Tony Lippett have stepped up their production and contributed to the winning streak.
A closer look at the six-game losing streak shows that the Wildcats have dropped two contests in overtime and two others by three points. They still have a shot at becoming bowl eligible for a seventh straight season, but need to start with a mistake-free game against the Spartans. Northwestern has been pretty good at taking advantage of opponents’ mistakes, leading the Big Ten in forcing turnovers (22).
LINE: The Spartans opened -7.5, but the line has been bet down a half-point. The total has held at 41.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the high-20s with wind blowing diagonally out of the NW at 19 mph.
* Spartans are 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games.
* Wildcats are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games.
* Road team is 11-1 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
The loser of the Alabama-LSU game has gone on to lose a subsequent game as a favorite in every year of the Nick Saban-Les Miles rivalry, except for 2011. However, this year is the first time LSU has enjoyed an open date immediately after playing Alabama. These Tigers have not had trouble refreshing, recharging and getting serious about the prospect of beating Texas A&M. The same could be said of Texas A&M, but if both teams show up with their A-games, the Tigers are a rightful favorite in their own stadium. LSU can score at will on an A&M defense loaded with true freshmen, and defensive coordinator John Chavis' D is out to make a statement. Home field looms large, and Johnny Manziel's ball security is a constant issue.