It’s a Big Ten vs. ACC battle on Saturday afternoon in Week 3 of the college football season as Michigan State visits No. 24 Miami (Fla.). Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Michigan State Spartans vs. Miami Hurricanes
Saturday, September 18, 2021 – 12:00 PM ET at Hard Rock Stadium
ABC has the national telecast of this matchup, and Miami figures to have one huge edge in that it will be very, very hot and humid in south Florida with the noon kickoff and the Hurricanes players are used to that. The Spartans players are not.
This marks Michigan State's first trip to Miami to play the Hurricanes since 1982. The 24th-ranked Canes lead the all-time series 4-0. The schools last met in in 1989 in East Lansing. Early leans at SBR’s top-rated betting sites show about 68 percent of spread action on Michigan State at +6.5.
Spartans Winning With Transfers
Michigan State (2-0) looks much improved this season under second-year coach Mel Tucker than how it looked last year when it finished 2-5 – all five losses were by double digits. Tucker is a good recruiter and has also brought in some talented transfers.
That group is led by running back Kenneth Walker III, who came from Wake Forest. He ranks fourth in the nation with 321 yards rushing and is averaging a whopping 10.7 yards per carry with five TDs. The Spartans were pretty inept offensively in 2020 but have totaled at least 500 yards in their wins over Northwestern and Youngstown State. It marks the first time MSU has compiled 500 yards of total offense in back-to-back games since October 2014 against Purdue and Indiana.
Payton Thorne won a camp quarterback battle over transfer Anthony Russo and was 15 of 21 for 280 yards and a career-high four TDs in this past Saturday’s easy win over Youngstown State. He was the first MSU quarterback to throw four TDs since Brian Lewerke. His top target Saturday was Jayden Reed, who caught four passes for a career-high 181 yards. Thorne and Reed have been playing together since grade school.
Defensive ends Drew Beesley, Drew Jordan and Itayvion "Tank" Brown all missed Saturday’s game for “medical reasons" and it’s not clear yet if they will play this week.
Michigan State has one of the country’s top kickers in senior Matt Coghlin, who is 65-of-88 for his career on field goals, currently No. 2 on MSU’s career list. The school record is 71 made by Brett Swenson from 2006-09. Coghlin has never missed an extra point in his NCAA career, going 118-for-118.
Sparty is 3-12-1 ATS on NCAAF picks in its past 16 games following a straight-up win.
Red Zone Issues Haunting Canes
Miami was totally dominated in its season opener against Alabama and nearly was upset at home by Group of 5 program Appalachian State on Saturday, escaping with a 25-23 victory on Andy Borregales’ 43-yard field goal with 2:04 remaining. That was a career-long kick for him. Last year, Borregales’ older brother Jose won the Lou Groza Award as the top kicker in the nation while at Miami.
Quarterback D’Eriq King was 20-for-33 for 200 yards and rushed for 79 yards. Cam'Ron Harris rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown for Miami, and Don Chaney Jr. had a rushing score before leaving in the first half with a leg injury. Chaney will miss the rest of the season. He averaged 5.2 yards a carry on his four rushes Saturday. Chaney was the No. 2 behind Harris.
Starting linebacker Keontra Smith will miss multiple weeks with a leg injury. Fifth-year junior Waynmon Steed is expected to step up into a bigger role in place of Smith. Steed had six tackles vs. App State.
One glaring issue through two games for the Hurricanes has been struggling in the red zone. They got inside the App State 20 five times but had just two TDs. Against Alabama, the Hurricanes got in the red zone three times and managed two field goals.
Nearly every computer model out there has the Hurricanes winning by double digits, something like 27-17, so we’ll give the points. Michigan State is 2-6 ATS at the top-rated books in its past eight as a road dog.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.