College Football Betting: Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines Picks

Michigan State Spartans
(5-0, 3-2 ATS)

Michigan Wolverines
(5-0, 3-2 ATS)


It isn’t often that both the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans are ranked in the Top 20 and talking about the Rose Bowl, but that’s the case going into Saturday afternoon’s top NCAA football betting affair in Ann Arbor. These two rivals will fight for first place in the Big Ten early on, while the loser knows that its hopes at the BCS and the Rose Bowl are probably finished.

HC Mark Dantonio should be giving his team an emotional lift on Saturday afternoon, as he’ll be in the press box helping out coaching after a two week absence following his heart attack. The Spartans know that they are probably overmatched defensively in this game, as this has been the Achilles heel of this team the entire year. Sparty’s numbers only look remotely reasonable due to the fact that the out of conference schedule was relatively weak, but when push comes to shove, both the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Wisconsin Badgers had their way at times with this unit. Instead, it is going to be up to the offense to control the football, not make dumb mistakes, and eat clock. Two fantastic rushers, RB Edwin Baker and RB Le’Veon Bell are going to be in charge of keeping that clock rolling. The two just barely exceeded the 1,000 yard mark combined last week against the Badgers, and they have a total of 12 of the team’s 22 TDs on the season. It’ll be up to QB Kirk Cousins to ultimately not make mistakes, though. Cousins does have four picks in five games, but he has thrown for 1,132 yards and nine TDs to boot.

The discussion about the Wolverines starts and ends with QB Denard Robinson. There just aren’t enough accolades to talk about how strong this quarterback is for HC Rich Rodriguez. Finally, this is the man that can run this offense the way that Rich Rod wants, and it not only will probably save his job in Ann Arbor, but it will also probably take his team near, if not all the way to a BCS game this season. The Big Blue leader will probably eclipse the 1,000 yard mark on the ground this week, which would make him the first man in the nation to do so. He has 98 carries for 905 yards and eight scores. Robinson also has 1,008 passing yards and seven TDs through the air, but more importantly, has only tossed one pick. Defense is a real problem for Michigan as well. Cousins will be tempted to try to exploit a secondary that ranks dead last in the country at 307.8 yards per game allowed, but the last team that really tried to do that, the Connecticut Huskies, got smacked 30-10 here in Ann Arbor.

This is the Big Game in the Big House, and we expect Big Blue to roll. In the end, if Michigan gets a lead, the pressure will be on Cousins’ shoulders. Just one mistake could be the end of it the way that the Wolverines play offense, and we think that that one mistake will come and come at a very inopportune time. Go with the maize and blue on Saturday afternoon.

College Football Free Pick: Michigan Wolverines -4.5

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