Michigan State suffered its first loss of the season to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the Spartans' larger goals remain in front of them as they host Maryland in Big Ten action on Saturday.
Just about everyone agreed that Michigan State was looking at a major trap game at Purdue in Week 10 after authoring a huge comeback win over Michigan, and the "experts" were right as Sparty was largely dominated in a loss to the Boilermakers.
That dropped MSU (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten) to No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 and probably will drop it from third to seventh in the College Football Playoff rankings due out Tuesday. Still, if coach Mel Tucker's team wins out, it will play for the Big Ten title and if it wins that game, it surely will be in the playoff. The Heisman hopes of running back Kenneth Walker III remain very alive as well. He's a +400 second-favorite.
Maryland (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten) is looking to qualify for a bowl game for the first time since 2016. The Terps may not get to six wins, though, with a home game versus Michigan and a trip to Rutgers left after this week.
Here are my picks and predictions for the college football matchup between Maryland and Michigan State (Odds via DraftKings; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).
Maryland vs. Michigan State Game Info
Date/Time: Saturday, November 13, 4 p.m. ETTV: FOXLocation: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MIWeather: rain/snow mix, high of 41
Maryland vs. Michigan State Odds Analysis
Will the spread get above 14 points? It doesn't appear that will happen, as while it has risen from an opening of 12.5, about 70 percent of the action is on the Spartans. They are 9-1 straight up in their past 10 as at least 13-point home favorites, but just 1-8-1 against the spread. Maryland is 4-6 ATS in its past 10 as at least a 13-point road dog.
The schools have split the past six meetings ATS.
The total of 62.5 points has not shifted yet, but that potential ugly weather forecast could definitely see some bettors start hammering the Under.
Maryland vs. Michigan State Betting Picks
Maryland +13 ???Under 62.5 points ???
Maryland vs. Michigan State Predictions
Maryland +13 (-110) ???
Let me be clear that I don't believe the Terps will win this game. Their only quality victory of the season was at home in the opener against West Virginia. However, I can see Sparty being a bit flat off suffering that first loss and with a massive game at Ohio State, that likely will be for the Big Ten East title, looming next week.
Also of concern is Michigan State is truly horrible against the pass, ranking dead last in allowing 326.7 yards per game. The one thing the Terps can do offensively is sling the ball behind quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Miami Dolphins starter Tua Tagovailoa. Taulia leads the Big Ten with 2,755 passing yards and is second in touchdown throws (18) and completion percentage (70.5).
In last week's 40-29 loss to Purdue, Michigan State was torched for 536 yards passing, and Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell isn’t as good as Tagovailoa, in my opinion. Somehow, the Terps managed only 14 points last week in a loss to Penn State, even though Tagovailoa completed 41 of 57 passes for 371 yards. It was his sixth career 300-yard passing game and fifth this season.
Michigan State is 5-15-2 ATS in its past 22 home games.
Under 62.5 points ???
That weather forecast is part of my reason for leaning to the Under. Obviously, MSU will want to run the ball all day with Walker and chew the clock. Walker had 136 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries versus Purdue.
Will Sparty have one of the Big Ten's best kickers this week in Matt Coghlin? He was injured during the Purdue loss and freshman Stephen Rusnak replaced him. Rusnak became the first Spartan other than Coghlin to kick a point-after attempt since 2016 but missed his only field goal.
Receiver Jalen Nailor (31 catches, 587 yards, six TDs) and left tackle Jarrett Horst didn't make the trip to Purdue due to injury so monitor their status. Cornerbacks Chuck Brantley (shoulder) and Ronald Williams II (back) both played through visible pain.
Maryland is averaging just 81.7 rushing yards per game in conference play, which ranks second to last in the Big Ten. Only Purdue, which throws the ball more than any team in the Big Ten, is worse.
The Under is 6-0 in the past six meetings of this series and 6-1 in Maryland's past seven on the road.
Picks made 11/8/2021 at 7:41 p.m. ET