Before we get into the Michigan-Michigan State betting odds for this weekend, let’s put this enormity of this rivalry game into context: This is the 113th matchup between the two biggest schools in Michigan, but it’s just the 18th time that these two teams face off when they are both ranked. It’s just the fifth time they face off when they are both ranked in the top ten. The last time that happened was 1964.
There have been some fireworks in this series over the years, but rarely have those fireworks had the kind of national influence on the sport that Saturday’s result could end up having.
There are, believe it or not, actual college football playoff implications on the line here. Two top ten teams from the Big Ten that are undefeated in the last week of October facing off? That’s a huge deal, and while Ohio State may still be the favorite to get to the playoff out of the Big Ten, that certainly isn’t a guarantee.
This is the biggest game of the weekend for a reason.
Longtime college sports writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 and The Field of 12 Network is here to break down the tantalizing matchup and provide the Virginia Tech-Pittsburgh betting odds for Week 7 of the college football season.
Until then, as a NCAA fan, you can check NFL betting odds and get ready to place a bet at BetRivers.
WEEK 7 BETTING ODDS: WEEKEND GUIDE
MICHIGAN-MICHIGAN STATE BETTING ODDS:
MICHIGAN (7-0) at MICHIGAN STATE (7-0)
GAME: 12:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
MONEYLINE: Michigan (-195), Michigan state (+155)
SPREAD: Michigan (-5)
MICHIGAN-MICHIGAN STATE PREDICTION:
Both the Spartans and the Wolverines are really good offensively, but the way they find that success is completely different.
Michigan is like playing against a meat tenderizer. They have arguably the most effective run game in college football. The only teams that run the ball on a higher percentage of their snaps this season are the service academies, Minnesota and Northern Illinois, and the Wolverines are sitting in the top ten of most running efficiency metrics. Blake Corum is a stud. Hassan Haskins is a battering ram. They just wear you down, slowly and methodically grinding the ball up the field. The fact that Michigan State is in the bottom half of the Big Ten in run defense is not a great thing for the Spartans here.
The way Michigan State wins is with, as my colleague Christian Hackenberg likes to put it, “explosives.” The Spartans lead the nation in plays over 60 yards with seven. Jalden Reed and Jalen Nailor are always a threat to get behind the defense. Kenneth Walker III can make a house call any time he gets the ball in his hands. You don’t want to let them get loose. They can win in one play.
At the same time, I do think that it is worth nothing that Michigan’s pass defense has been good this year, and that they have been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. You need time if you’re going to hit for big plays.
And to me, that ends up being the difference here.
I think Michigan State’s inability to stop the ground game is going to be a problem. I think that the Wolverines will be able to get pressure, and the fact that Michigan A) doesn’t turn the ball over, and B) Michigan State is 117th nationally in penalty yards per game are two x-factors that lean Michigan’s way. Laying five in a rivalry game on the road is never going to feel comfortable, but I do think that Michigan State’s performance against Indiana last week in more indicative of what they are this season than anything.