Free NCAA Football Picks Against The Spread - BYU vs Michigan St.

Michigan State Players

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 10:02 PM GMT

BYU and Michigan State square off for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET), Sparty losers of two in a row. We predict a low-scoring affair. Get your free pick and betting preview here.

BYU Cougars (2-3 SU, 4-1 ATS)

BYU is 5-10 SU, but 10-5 ATS in its last 15 as a road underdog against Power 5 programs.

The Cougars have the offensive weapons to challenge Michigan State's defense, and will look to create one-on-one matchups. Running back Jamaal Williams is the best player in Ty Detmer's offense. The senior leads the nation in yards after contact, and averages 6.5 yards per carry.

At quarterback, senior Taysom Hill is not the running threat he was after ankle and knee injuries kept him out of the majority of the last two seasons. He's a so-so thrower, tossing for 1,117 yards, 5 TDs and 6 INTs on 102 of 171 passes.

BYU rotates a ton of defensive players to keep personnel fresh. Whether it's working or not is up for debate. The unit allows 6.2 yards per play (100th), gifting 9.1 per passing attempt. Posting 2.6 takeaways per game, sixth most nationally, has kept the defense from totally collapsing.

Each of BYU's last five games have come down to a two-minute drill, determined by 3 points or less.

Michigan State Spartans (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)

Sparty's senior leaders called a players-only meeting after dropping two in a row to Wisconsin (30-6) and Indiana (24-21). It's the first two-game losing streak since 2012. Michigan State has never dropped a third when home chalk since head coach Mark Dantonio took over in 2007; in fact, it has suffered three losses in a row just twice under his tenure. Expect the team to be ready.

The offense is sputtering, scoring 27 points total over its last two games. That's 25 fewer than the betting market projected. Efficiency is obviously poor. The unit's 0.274 points per play ranks 101st in the FBS. Dual-threat quarterback Tyler O'Connor owns a 8:5 TD-to INT ratio, and has shown he can buckle under pressure with three turnovers against the Badgers.

Dantonio's lines have played poorly. Coach hasn't settled on a firm starting five offensively, moving personnel and positions every game. It's hurt both the pass and rush blocking. On D, the pass rush is nearly non-existent. Sparty's 4.2 sack percentage ranks 98th in the country.

Final Analysis

BYU's success will be determined by its ability to pass efficiently. Since the start of last season, the Cougars are 2-6 SU (4-3-1 ATS) when tossing for 250 yards or less; 9-2 SU garnering more (7-3-1 ATS). Sparty's pass defense is porous, allowing 9.0 yards per attempt, but Hill and company will not be able to go deep against Big 10 talent. For our College Football Pick for this week, we'll jump on the UNDER 49.5 points, which is 15-4 when Dantonio is single-digit chalk at Spartan Stadium at College Football Odds.

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Free College Football Pick: Under 49.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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