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The line for this game has changed a lot over the past month or so. While Michigan continues to allow a ridiculous amount of points on defense (90 last two games), Michigan State is going in the opposite direction with one of the best defenses in the nation. The Spartans are allowing 140 less yards per game than the Wolverines, although you can point to some weaker opponents for that discrepancy. MSU is ranked (BCS No. 22) for the first time all season and are -4.5 favorites at home at BETOWI Sportsbook.
Much like the defensive end, the offensive side is quite opposite with these teams, as Michigan is scoring over 42 points per game, and MSU is just under 30.
The last five meetings between these teams have been dominated by the Spartans defense. Even though the Wolverines won last year, it was by a minimal 12-10 margin. Michigan is scoring 16.8 points per game in those last five contests. That goes in line with MSU covering in five straight matchups.
Considering Devin Gardner's problem of throwing interceptions (10 on the year), it's going to be even more important against this opportunistic defense, not to turn it over. In two road games this year, he's thrown four interceptions against mediocre defenses (Connecticut, Penn State). It's a wonder what Gardner will do against the Spartans. The Wolverines will run as much as possible behind Fitzgerald Toussaint (575 yards, 11 TDs) and Gardner (520 yards, nine TDs), but as said before, MSU has contained this rushing attack in previous years. If Gardner can't find room, look for him to air it out to Jeremy Gallon, who is coming off a 369-yard, two TD performance.
Michigan State's offense is the big question mark in this game, and with Michigan coming off a bye, one would think they've prepared for two straight weeks on how to stop the Spartans. Connor Cook is often inconsistent as seen in the last two games. He went 13-for-25 for 107 yards and zero TDs against Purdue two weeks ago, but last Saturday went 15-for-16 for 208 yards and three TDs at Illinois. As long as he keeps the ball safe and gets a couple long plays, this offense will be fine. It's a power rushing attack led by Jeremy Langford (655 yards, nine TDs) that will likely be a problem for Michigan. However, Le'Veon Bell managed only 68 yards on 2.6 yards per carry last year.
At the moment, the Spartans are the only undefeated team in the Legends division and a win here for them would be huge in their chances at making it to the Big 10 Championship game. A loss for Michigan would all but destroy their shot and give them two conference losses.
The Wolverines are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following an ATS win and only 7-20-1 ATS in their last 28 road games. The Spartans are a disappointing 3-10 ATS in their last 13 home games, but 4-1-1 ATS in their last six overall. The under has hit in four straight games between these teams.
The early betting action at sportsbook.com is going the Wolverines way, but only by a margin of 56%, so the betting public isn't quite convinced either way here.
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