The Michigan State Spartans are poised to win the Big Ten Legends division with a win over the Wildcats but where is the betting value in this game?
Michigan State Spartans (9-1 SU, 6-3-1 ATS)
MSU may be rolling all the way to a big bowl game in January by locking up the Big 10 Legends division if they can defeat Northwestern on the road this Saturday. The Spartans took care of business last week by trouncing the Cornhuskers in Nebraska 41-28 and got the nod from sportsbooks as five-point favorites. Though their nation’s best defense allowed four Nebraska touchdowns, they did force five turnovers and the offense took over as quarterback Connor Cook engineered a decisive drive in the fourth quarter with a 27-yard hookup to a streaking Keith Mumphery. Jeremy Langford capped the game with a 37-yard burst into the endzone which was the final of his three TD runs in the game.
Last week’s game boosted their points scored average to 30.9 per game but the 28 points they allowed to the Huskers dropped them from the top spot in points allowed to the fourth best in the country, currently surrendering an average of 13.2 per contest. The Spartans are 3-1 on the road with their only loss coming at South Bend to the Fighting Irish earlier this season yet they are 3-0-1 against the spread in college football odds in those road games.
Northwestern Wildcats (4-6 SU, 3-7 ATS)
The Cats, losers of their last six, have been torturing their backers at the windows by delivering a return in only one of those six games. Last week was more of the same as they came up short in a triple overtime thriller against Michigan and lost by the final score of 27-19 and proved unworthy as three point home chalk in college football odds. The Wildcats have been hard luck losers this season as they lost their previous game to Nebraska via a Hail Mary pass with no time left on the clock.
It has been one of those years for head coach Pat Fitzgerald and the entire program is feeling the effects of one gut wrenching loss after another. Junior Quarterback Trevor Siemian threw for 153 yards with no touchdowns and one pick on 19 for 28 passing against the Huskers. Kain Colter led all Northwestern rushers with 78 yards on the ground and one trip into the endzone. Meanwhile the Jones boys (Christian and Tony) were the recipients of 12 of the 19 completed passes but Tony Jones is questionable for Saturday’s game with MSU, nursing a strained quadriceps.
Simply put the Wildcats have been a miserable team to back recently and they are taking on a juggernaut in Michigan State that has not lost a cover on the road this season. But could the game last week against Nebraska been the high water mark for the Spartans after recent failures against the Huskers? Even though this game will clinch the division crown for the Spartans it could prove to be the proverbial trap game. The oddsmakers are well aware that bettors have lost bundles backing Northwestern and may be overcompensating on the line.
It was only a year ago when MSU lined up as seven-point home favorites against Northwestern and wound up on the losing end of a 23-20 decision. Now, the venue is reversed and Northwestern gets the home field advantage which hasn’t been so advantageous this season if you review their record (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS). However, this team is not as bad as their record suggests, and don’t fall into the trap of fading them just because they’ve decimated your bankroll recently. MSU wins but the Cats keep it close adding them to our college football picks for the week.
Play Northwestern +7 at Bet365.com.