Ohio State Favored by 20 over Michigan State – Free Pick – 10/5/19

Ohio State hosts Michigan State
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The last time Michigan State was this big of an underdog against Ohio State was 2017, the last time these teams played in Columbus.

As a -17.5 point favorite, the Buckeyes ran rampant en route to a 48-3 win. That’s what they’ve been doing to everyone this season and that’s why they were up to -20 point favorites with an over/under of 49 earlier in the week.

The difference between this game and the one from two years ago is that MSU has one of the best defenses in the country. That didn’t exactly show up in last weekend’s win against Indiana, but it did in last year’s matchup.

While the Bucks won 26-6 in East Lansing, they didn’t extend the lead until the fourth quarter off an MSU fumble in the end zone. Otherwise, both offenses struggled to move the ball with just two of the scoring drives over 49 yards and two of the three longest drives by the Spartans.

MSU’s offense may be a little better this year, but there’s also a chance OSU is better with Justin Fields leading the way. The Georgia transfer has been unstoppable, completing 69.8% of his passes for 16 touchdowns and no interceptions.

He can also run when needed as he’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry to go with seven rushing touchdowns. He’s still third on the team in rushing yards behind J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague III. 

The advantage goes to the offense, but this will be the hardest test Fields and company have faced. While MSU gave up 31 points to Indiana last game, it’s still allowing 15 points and 55.8 rushing yards per game. Behind a dominant front, they’ve limited everyone from running against them and that could be what keeps this game competitive.

But if Fields gets out of the pocket and finds room, that doesn’t matter. The other part is that MSU can be exploited in the secondary and that’s something Fields will do with receivers Binjimen Victor, Chris Olave and K.J. Hill.

The main reason this spread is so high is because Ohio State is also crushing opponents with its defense, most recently limiting a decent Nebraska offense to seven points.

The Spartans have scored 71 points the last two games, but they were also held to seven points in the game before that (Arizona State). If you had to pick between the sides in this situation, most would lean toward the OSU defense.

Quarterback Brian Lewerke is quietly putting in a solid season with 10 touchdowns and only one interception. They’ve had some issues finding the end zone, but they’ve been able to move the ball fine against everyone.

That’s because MSU has a decent core of skill players with freshman running back Elijah Collins, as well as receivers Darrell Stewart and Cody White. If MSU is to have a chance, all of those guys will need to get involved.

The problem is that the offensive line could be manhandled all game, similar to last year when no one for the Spartans rushed for more than four yards other than their backup quarterback.

A few years ago, these matchups were competitive, but Ohio State has run away in the last two even if the 2018 meeting was closer than the score. Michigan State is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games following a straight-up win and the under is 4-1 in its last five on the road.

Ohio State has covered in its last seven against a team with a winning record. The under has hit in the last four meetings between these teams in Columbus and the underdog is 6-2 ATS in the last eight between them.

Our Pick – Our model has Michigan State holding the Buckeyes to it’s lowest point total of the season. Unfortunately for the Spartans, our model also has them scoring just 6. Predicted score Ohio State 34 Michigan State 6.

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