College Football Pick
Once considered a rivalry, these teams haven’t played since 2013 due to the series not being renewed. However, that changes this year with Michigan State traveling to Notre Dame. The Spartans have had some great seasons as of late, but most of those were done without facing the Fighting Irish. Now back on the Schedule, the Spartans and Mark Dantonio will try to reverse what has happened the last three times these teams have played with Notre Dame winning them all.
It won’t be easy, that’s for certain, but at the least Michigan State gets a week off going into this matchup. Whether that means anything remains to be seen this early in the season. Maybe more of a pressing matter for the Spartans was an unimpressive opening Game, taking down Furman just 28-13. Then again, that’s kind of the norm for Dantonio’s teams, getting out to slow starts. Even though they reached the College Football Playoff last year, MSU struggled to beat teams such as Western Michigan, Air Force, Purdue and Rutgers early on.
Was the win over a Furman a similar circumstance and they’ll be prepared to take on Notre Dame? That’s possible, but it can’t be forgotten that the Spartans are breaking in a new quarterback this season with Tyler O’Connor. He was fine in the opener, tossing for 190 yards and three touchdowns, but MSU attacked the ground for the most part, led by LJ SCott and his 105 yards. But in this Game, O’Connor will undoubtedly have to pass a bit more.
Not to say this will result in a 50-47 showing like Notre Dame’s opening loss to Texas, but with DeShone Kizer under center, the Irish can put points on the board against most defenses, even one as annually dominant as MSU’s.
But over the years, Michigan State has often had trouble stopping mobile quarterbacks and that’s exactly what Kizer brings to the table along with RBs Tarean Folston and Josh Adams. While Kizer is decent as a passer, the run will be Notre Dame’s go-to method of attack for most of the season. If the Irish can find room that way, it could be trouble for the road team and State will get their first look at what O’Connor can do against adversity.
Sure, O’Connor played in last year’s win at Ohio State, but he mostly split duties and even then barely did much in a 17-14 win. To win this Game, MSU may have to go that defensive route, but as said before, it may not be possible against this offense.
The Spartans will lean on SCott and the ground Game as much as possible against a defensive front that allowed 237 rushing yards to the Longhorns, but O’Connor will be called upon sooner or later.
Notre Dame will probably be the more popular team to bet on simply because of the more exciting offense, but Michigan State has been winning via defense for a number of years. And that’s exactly what this Game will come down to. Will the better offense or defense come out on top? Playing in South Bend, and the Irish’s success against Dantonio, most signs point to the home team.
Our Pick – Tough call. Mainly because we don’t know what to make of Michigan State, the 2016 version. Can’t tell much from a lackluster win over Furman. W e can tell you though, that using last years data, and what little we have for this year, Our model says take Michigan State keeps this well within the spot.
However, we’re more likely to disagree with Our model in the early going as opposed to when the seasons moves along. That’s the case here. Notre Dame is more battle tested in the early going and we know they’ll have no trouble finding the end zone this season. Not so sure Michigan State can keep up offensively here.
This is also another great example of having to be on your toes as a bettor. Right now, the best number we can get is -7.5. However, this Game was once -6. LAying -7.5 when you could have had -6 is a big no-no in the sports betting world.
So, we’ll call it like this. This is a play at -7 or less. At –7.5 or higher, it’s an opinion only.