Michigan State owns the rivalry with Indiana, winning 14 of the last 16 meetings, going 8-2 ATS in the last 10. But the Hoosiers and their high-powered running game are looking for an upset victim. Can IU pull a Homecoming surprise when the teams meet Saturday afternoon in Bloomington?
The Betting Odds
In the early betting, most online sportsbooks were chalking Michigan State at -14.5 over Indiana, and that number had held steady into midweek. Those out there who think the Hoosiers might win this game straight-up could get +450 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.
Indiana, with 17 starters back from a team that went 5-7 last year, didn't necessarily expect to contend for a division title this year, but the Hoosiers hoped they could snap a six-season bowl-less streak. So far IU is halfway there, at 3-3 SU, but it's also only 2-4 ATS and 0-2 in Big Ten play. Saturday's game, though, offers the Hoosiers a chance to make a big splash.
Indiana opened this season with a 28-10 win over Indiana State, then lost at Bowling Green 45-42. The Hoosiers bounced back to upset Missouri 31-27, winning outright as two-touchdown underdogs, but began Big Ten play by losing at home to Maryland 37-15. They then beat North Texas 49-24, but last week lost at Iowa 45-29, missing the cover as three-point dogs. Indiana gave up 28 first-quarter points to the Hawkeyes, got within a touchdown midway through the second quarter, then lost starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld and bogged down from there.
When the smoke cleared the Hoosiers had actually outgained Iowa 432-426. But Chris Covington, the freshman who replaced Sudfeld at QB, completed just three of 12 passes for 31 yards, and threw two interceptions.
Michigan State, with only 12 starters back from a team that won the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl last year, went off getting 3/1 to win the Big Ten again this year. And so far not much has happened to change that, as the Spartans have won five of their first six games, including their first two conference contests.
The Spartans opened this season with 45-7 win over Jacksonville State, but then flew out to Oregon, blew a nine-point third-quarter lead and lost 46-27. MSU then beat Eastern Michigan 73-14 and Wyoming 56-14, then began Big Ten play with a 27-22 victory over Nebraska in a game that wasn't as close as that score might indicate.
Last week the Spartans won at Purdue 45-31, but couldn't cover the -21 posted on the week's College Football odds boards.
Michigan State only got outgained by the Ducks by 25 yards, and later outgained the 'Huskers 422-329 and the Boilers 532-340.
Spartans-Hoosiers Recent History
Michigan State has won the last five games in this series, going 4-1 ATS, averaging 44 points per game.
Last year the Spartans beat Indiana 42-28 in East Lansing, covering as 10-point favorites. MSU outgained the Hoosiers 473-351, outrushed 'em 238-92 and won time-of-possession by a 37-23 margin.
Spartans-Hoosiers Betting Trends
Michigan State is 5-1 on the totals this season.
The OVER is 6-0 in the last six games in this series.
The Spartans are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games as favorites on the road, and 7-1 ATS in their last eight Big Ten road games.
Indiana is 5-5 ATS in its last 10 games as a home dog, 7-6 ATS in its last 13 games as a double-digit dog.
Indiana will be without quarterback Sudfeld, who suffered a separated (non-throwing) shoulder last week and is lost for the season. His replacement, freshman Covington, will be making his first college start. He ran for 41 yards on 11 carries after taking over for Sudfeld last week at Iowa. Too bad Tre Roberson isn't still around.
Spartans-Hoosiers Free Pick
Michigan State owns a big edge on defense, and Indiana just lost its starting quarterback. The Hoosiers may have the leading rusher in the country in Tevin Coleman, but without Sudfeld they become very one-dimensional. And that's not a good thing, going against a Spartans defense which has allowed just 82 yards per game on the ground this season. So we'll go with Sparty, at the -13.5 points offered at Pinnacle, for our free college football pick on this game.
Free College Football Picks: Michigan State -13.5