Michigan State – Ohio State College Football ATS Pick

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Michigan State

vs.

Ohio State

Big 10

College Football

Pick – Analysis

11/21/15

This was expected to be the biggest Big Ten Game of the year and while it may not be anymore, it still could define the season for each of these teams. Michigan State needs a win to have a shot at the Conference title Game, while Ohio State still could survive with a loss. But after these schools have traded wins the last five years, both will be looking to get a hold of this matchup. The Buckeyes opened as a -13 point favorite (at 5 Dimes Sportsbook) playing in Columbus.

These teams are a combined 19-1, but just 7-13 against the spread, which says it all for how their seasons have gone. Neither has really lived up to full expectations yet this year.

The Spartans defense has failed to live up to previous versions and is now a weakness on this team. They are coming off a rough 24-7 win over Maryland, but Connor Cook sat out the second half due to precautionary reasons for an injured shoulder. He should be good to go for this one, but obviously is something to monitor. That injury is also something that was possibly added into the opening spread.

The Buckeyes have had problems of their own, starting at quarterback. Cardale Jones was the starter early in the year, but he gave up that position shortly before J.T. Barrett was suspended for a Game. Barrett is back, but the offense still didn’t impress that much in a 28-3 win over Illinois last weekend. One thing that has been going in Ohio State’s favor lately is the defense, which has allowed 34 points total in the last Four Games.

Ohio State will look to attack the beat up Michigan State secondary as much as possible. Due to injuries, the Spartans have struggled against pretty much every passing Game this year. Stopping Maryland doesn’t mean a whole lot. While Ezekiel Elliott and the running Game is the strength of the OSU offense, it wouldn’t be surprising if Barrett came out throwing the ball. Barrett has eight passing TDs on the year while completing 65.2% of his passes, and neither him nor Jones has really had an outstanding passing Game all year. This could be that Game.

And even with that being the case, Elliott will still get his usual touches considering he has 1,425 yards and 16 TDs on the year. MSU can be beat on the ground, but their front Four is the strong suit of this unit.

On the other end, Michigan State will need to keep up on the scoreboard and that starts with Connor Cook. This will be the best defense Cook has faced since the Michigan Game. Cook hasn’t really had a terrible Game this season, outside of last week when he never had a chance to get going. Expect the Buckeyes to send plenty of blitzes Cook’s way. With how Cook has looked this season, there’s no reason to expect he can’t handle the pressure, although a sore shoulder could change that. But still, it will be important for MSU to get some kind of ground Game going, and they haven’t really done that much with inconsistencies on the offensive line.

Michigan State wants revenge from last year’s Game, but with a weaker defense, that may not be possible if Barrett and the OSU offense show up. MSU’s secondary will continue to have problems and that means it’s up to Cook to keep this Spartan season alive.

The underdog has covered Four straight in this meeting, while the road team is 6-1 ATS in the last seven. The Buckeyes are 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 between these teams. The trends point to overs for Michigan State, but unders for Ohio State.

Our Pick – Our model predicts a Buckeye win by at least a couple of TD’s. However, we’re going to go against Our model here. The Ohio State Schedule (along with the rest of the Big 10) has been incredibly weak. In fact, it would be a shame if Ohio State makes the 4 team playoff based on who they have played.

Ohio State had trouble extending a margin against the likes of Northern Illinois and Indiana and only managed a 14 point win over Minnesota. That alone is enough to think the Spartans can make a Game of this.

Watch the board as Ohio State money may push this number to +14 and beyond. But for now, we’ll take the +13 in what has the potential to be a close Game. Would anyone be shocked beyond belief if the Spartans won outright? Michigan State +13