Ohio State still has a chance to make the College Football Playoff, but only if it wins out and that includes the Big Ten title. Michigan State is no longer in the running for the conference, but still has a chance to make a good bowl listed at No. 18 in the latest CFP rankings. The Buckeyes were -3.5 point road favorites with an over/under of 52 as of Wednesday at betonline Sportsbook.
The main issue with backing OSU is that this team is not playing well. It was torched by Purdue and then barely got by Nebraska last Game in a 36-31 win. Prior to last year’s beat down in this matchup, Michigan State lost by one point in 2016 and won by three on the road in 2015. Despite OSU being the bigger brand, these teams often have close Games since they started playing every year in 2011.
If you like MSU, the under makes the most sense because that’s exactly how the Spartans want to play as none of their last Four Games have gone over 38 points. They’re going to win via a defense that’s allowing 19 points and just 71.7 rushing yards per Game.
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Unfortunately for them, offense is where Ohio State excels behind quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who is completing 69.7% of his passes for 8.80 yards per attempt, 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He hasn’t been stopped often, but against the best defenses he’s faced, he hasn’t been as good, scoring 27 points against Penn State and 20 against Purdue. That’s something to keep in mind because MSU’s defense may be the toughest that OSU has faced. The worry for the Bucks is that they won’t be able to run the ball and that’s been an issue most of the season. They’re averaging 4.5 yards per carry as a team with neither J.K. Dobbins nor Mike Weber near the same level as a year ago. Dobbins is down more than two yards per carry and that’s a clear issue for this offense. There is a route that Ohio State could still drop 30 or more points because Michigan State’s pass defense is a question and the reason it has a couple more losses than it would like.
Of course, MSU’s offense hasn’t scored more than 24 in the last five Games and hasn’t looked right all season. Quarterback Brian Lewerke has disappointed with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions, and appeared to return too early from injury in the win against Maryland. If he completes only 50 percent of his passes against OSU, that probably won’t be enough. Then again, the Bucks aren’t playing good defense, allowing 153 rushing yards per contest and that’s why they’ve struggled in the last couple Games. Still, the Spartans are averaging only 3.5 yards per carry and even then some of that is helped by 80- and 75-yard touchdown runs. The only way Michigan State has a chance is if it keeps Ohio State to less than 20 points because this offense isn’t doing enough to Scoremore than that.
The Buckeyes are 1-5 ATS in their last six road Games and haven’t covered in their last five overall. The Spartans are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record, but just 1-4 ATS in their last five home Games. The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these schools and the under is 5-2 in that period.
Additional ATS Trends
Mich State is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Conference Games.
Mich State is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home Games.
Mich State is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 Games as a home underdog.
Mich State is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Games following a straight up win.
Mich State is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Games following a ATS win.
Mich State is 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Mich State is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home Games vs. a team with a winning road record.
Mich State is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 Games in November.
Mich State is 20-7-1 ATS in their last 28 Games as an underdog.
Mich State is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Games on grass.
Mich State is 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 Games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
Ohio State is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Conference Games.
Ohio State is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Games as a favorite.
Ohio State is 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 road Games vs. a team with a winning home record.
Ohio State is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Games following a straight up win.
Ohio State is 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 Games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0.
Ohio State is 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 Games as a road favorite of 0.5-3.0.
Ohio State is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Games in November.
Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road Games.
Ohio State is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Games as a road favorite.
Our Pick – Michigan State +3.5