College Football Picks: South Florida vs. Michigan State

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 3:55 PM GMT

Wednesday, Sep. 4, 2013 3:55 PM GMT

The South Florida Bulls suffered a humiliating loss last week, but they’ll likely stay within the number against the Michigan State Spartans Saturday. How do we plan on cashing in with our college football picks in this matchup?

Let’s take a closer look at the College Football odds for this non-conference affair at Spartan Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

A punch to the gut 

South Florida suffered a humiliating 53-21 loss to McNeese State as 20.5-point home favorites last Saturday, while going OVER the betting total of 48.5. 

College football experts have stated that it was the most points scored by an FCS team against an opponent from an automatic qualifying BCS conference in the history of the sport. 

It was a surprising result due to the team welcoming back 19 starters that played in a combined 342 games—including 112 starts. 

Grinding it out 

Michigan State isn’t the prettiest football team to watch, but it did come away with a 26-13 season-opening victory over Western Michigan as 27.5-point home favorites last Friday, while going UNDER the betting total of 44.

The Spartans are 17-2 SU versus non-conference opponents at home under head coach Mark Dantonio, but they’ve failed to cover their last three games at this venue with a betting total of 42.5 to 45. 

Dangerous underdog on the sideline

At just 37 years old, South Florida head coach Willie Taggert is the second-youngest in that type of position in the BCS. He spent the previous three seasons turning around a downtrodden Western Kentucky football program. 

The Hilltoppers covered his last 12 games on the sidelines as an underdog during his time in Bowling Green, KY. 

All about the defense 

The Spartans definitely have a chance of winning the Big Ten Conference due to their defense—a unit that forced opponents to go three-and-out 41 percent of the time a season ago. 

Michigan State forced Western Michigan to do just that in nine of 17 offensive possessions last week.

[gameodds]6/238957/?r3=43-19/us&r-1=43-19/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bulls with their College Football picks, as the Spartans are 1-8 ATS in their last nine home games. 

College Football Pick: South Florida Bulls +24

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