Win Total for Loaded Michigan State Seems Absurdly Low

Monday, May 28, 2018 11:19 AM UTC

Monday, May. 28, 2018 11:19 AM UTC

Looking for the best value bet on 2018 college football win totals? Then look no further than East Lansing with the Michigan State Spartans.

I don’t know exactly the science of how sportsbooks calculate win totals for college football teams each season. Obviously, the formula takes into effect returning starters and a team’s schedule. But, man, it sure seems like the books got it wrong with the 2018 Michigan State Spartans. At 5Dimes, Coach Mark Dantonio’s team is listed at just 7 victories, although the ‘over’ is a solid -195 favorite.

Barring injury, I’d be shocked if Sparty doesn’t win at least eight games – remember, those NCAA totals are only regular-season games, no conference title matchups or bowl games.

MSU was given a win total of 6.5 last season with the ‘under’ a -200 favorite. The Spartans finished 10-3 after crushing Washington State 42-17 in the Holiday Bowl. Frankly, Michigan State deserved to play in a better bowl game. It beat both Michigan and Penn State, yet the Wolverines played in the New Year’s Day Outback Bowl (and blew a 19-3 third-quarter lead to lose to a mediocre South Carolina team 26-19) and the Nittany Lions in the Fiesta Bowl (they beat a good Washington team 35-28).

When Dantonio learned of Sparty’s bowl destination, he had this to say: "Life's about how you handle disappointments. I would not say going to the Holiday Bowl is a big disappointment. I'm excited about it, very excited about the opportunity. I just look at it as an opportunity to play in the Holiday Bowl right now. The records are what they are. I'll just continue to concentrate on beating Michigan, let things sort of sort out."

Because of course he had to jab at Michigan. The Spartans are 8-2 in their past 10 (10-0 ATS!) against “big brother.” Jim Harbaugh is 1-2 against MSU, with his lone win coming in 2016 when Michigan State finished 3-9 -- its worst season since 1994. Naturally, Harbaugh fired back with this tweet: Saw Coach D comments on continuing to "focus" on how "he" can beat Michigan. Congrats on turning around a 3-9 team, plagued with off field issues. Good for BIG to have him back.

Dantonio brings back a whopping 19 starters from last year’s team. The only one lost on offense was center Brian Allen, although he was one of the nation’s best and became a fourth-round pick by the Rams. That’s 78 straight years at least one Spartan has been drafted, by the way. MSU is one of only five schools to have a player selected in all 51 of the modern NFL drafts.

Star tailback L.J. Scott thought about declaring for the draft but returned to school. He rushed for 788 yards and six scores on 183 carries in 2017 and call 18 balls and a TD. QB Brian Lewerke threw for 2,580 yards and 17 scores and rushed for 486 yards and five scores. His top receiver, Felton Davis (51 catches, 658 yards, 8 TDs) also returns.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Justin Layne & David Dowell did a great job of limiting the yards allowed per snap in coverage last season pic.twitter.com/jOcvrafL29

— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 16, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

Nine starters are back on a defense that should be among the country’s best. That unit did lose co-defensive coordinator Harlon Bennett, who left for the same job with Florida State. But there shouldn’t be any falloff because co-DC Mike Tressel was promoted to the solo gig. Sparty allowed just 20.3 points per game in 2017 and was No. 2 nationally against the run (95.3 ypg) and seventh in total defense (297.6 ypg).

MSU’s schedule ranks as the 33rd-toughest in the nation for 2018 going by opponents’ winning percentage from last year. The only non-conference worry would be Sept. 8 at Arizona State. Sparty opens Aug. 31 at home as a 25.5-point 5Dimes favorite against Utah State. You can see the full schedule below (times TBA). Michigan comes to East Lansing as does Ohio State. Nebraska should be the toughest opponent from the Big Ten West. The Spartans catch a break in avoiding Wisconsin, which is favored to win the West again. Michigan and Penn State from the East aren’t so lucky in avoiding the Badgers.

The Spartans +1000 at BetOnline to win the Big Ten and are +3300 to win the national title at 5Dimes. Can’t say I recommend that latter bet, but the ‘over’ 7 wins I surely do.

comment here