Over/Under 9 Wins () vs Michigan State Spartans ()Date : 08/31/2018
Time : First Game: Utah State Aggies @ Michigan State Spartans 7:00 PM
Location : Spartan Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 9 Wins vs Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State needs to have a good football season after all the troubles the University and the athletic department went through at the beginning of the year and to top that off the top sports team at Michigan State saw an early exit in the big tourney as the basketball team failed to meet expectations. Michigan State rebounded last season with a bowl win after missing the postseason for the first time in the Mark Dantonio era back in 2016 and the Spartans should be on the high road back to relevancy in the Big Ten East. Michigan State is one of the most veterans filled squads in college football as they will bring back 19 of the 22 starters from both sides of the ball. Michigan State has some of the essential pieces in contending for a championship as they have a battle-tested QB as well as a top 10 defense but as always they will have to face the Big Ten East schedule which can cause trouble. Michigan State may not have as deep as a history as their in-state rivals which may hurt them on the recruiting trail but Dantonio has been able to outcoach his counterpart the last few years. Dantonio wasn’t as successful this past offseason with bringing in the top-notch recruits as his 2018 recruiting class ranked 6th out of the 14 Big Ten teams. Dantonio was able to land three 4-star recruits with his biggest one being the #2 player in the state of Michigan, CB Kalon Gervin.
Over/Under 9 Wins's Latest Performance :
Michigan State has been one of the most consistent teams in college football as they have cracked the double-digit win mark in 4 of their last 5 seasons, and given their returning weapons there is no doubt that they could contest that mark once again. Michigan State returns 19 of their 22 starters with the offense being the most experienced and oddsmakers have taken the program’s history into account as they set the over/under at 9 wins.
Simple Start To The Season
Michigan State will jump up the AP rankings after their first 5 matchups as they should win all of those games convincingly. Michigan State will open their non-conference slate with home matchups against Utah State and Central Michigan and then travel to Arizona State for a road matchup. Michigan State will see their traditional Big Ten West opponents as they will host both Michigan and Ohio State and then travel to Penn State, If Michigan State wants to lock up a spot in the Big Ten championship game they will have to beat 2 of those 3 teams which is a tough task to ask for. Michigan State will also want to make sure they secure wins against Purdue and Nebraska as those are two teams who can be sneaky good in the Big Ten this season. Michigan State has the advantage of hosting 2 of their 3 competitors which could be pivotal games if they can win at home.
Michigan State Spartans's Latest Performance :
Michigan State has the advantage of returning 10 of their 11 starters on the offensive side of the ball which could prove to be the heart of this team given the veteran leadership from the quarterback position. Brian Lewerke returns to the helm of the Spartans offense after the junior threw for 2793 yards and 20 TDs but he was also a force on the ground as he ran for an additional 559 yards with 5 TDs. Lewerke allows Dantonio to open up his playbook in his run-first playbook as the 2nd year starter has shown the ability to do it all. Lewerke is backed by a senior running back in LJ Scott who has led the team in rushing through his first 3 seasons. LJ Scott has yet to crack the 1000 yard mark in his career as he fell short in 2017 with 898 but this may be the year that Scott breaks through. The receivers are one of the most well-rounded groups for the Spartans as they bring back a pair of 500-yard pass catchers in Felton Davis and Darrell Stewart. Felton Davis is a mismatch for any defensive back as the 6’4 senior shows a flash of speed as well as height and he showed that last year with a 776-yard campaign to go along with 9 touchdown catches. Michigan State returns a lot of major pieces on their 7th ranked defense which could be the heart and soul of this team once again. The Spartans will get another year of their leader at the linebacker position as Joe Bachie returns for his junior season after having a 100 tackle season last year, but Bachie isn’t only one of the top run stoppers for Sparty but also an underrated pass coverage guy as he compiled 2 interceptions last season. Defensive end Kenny Willekes is another guy who should benefit with another year in the system as he led the team in TFL (13) and sacks (5.5) last season but outside of Willekes there is not much depth at that position. The secondary is the top unit for the Spartans as they have a solid combination of lockdown corners and hard-hitting safeties. David Dowell was a force in both the run game and through the air as the safety led Michigan State in interceptions last year with 5, expect a bigger year from the junior.
Player To Watch
Connor Heyward, RB, Soph.
Michigan State lacks depth at the running back position which is interesting considering how much they value the running back position but one guy who can fill that backup role behind Scott is former NFL star Craig Heyward’s son, Connor. Connor Heyward was not a home run recruit out of the state of Georgia but he is the power back needed to run Dantonio’s offense to a T. Heyward comes in at 6’2 220 LBs which is similar size to the starting running back and if Heyward can catch on this season him and Scott can put a wear and tear on opposing defenses. Heyward looked good in spring ball and I expect him to crack the 300-yard mark as the backup for Scott.
How Over/Under 9 Wins & Michigan State Spartans Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 9 Wins – Even
Under 9 Wins -120
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
8/31- Utah State- W
9/8- @ Arizona State- W
9/22- @ Indiana- W
9/29- Central Michigan- W
10/6- Northwestern- W
10/13- @ Penn State- L
10/20- Michigan- L
10/27- Purdue- W
11/3- @ Maryland- W
11/10- Ohio State- L
11/17- @ Nebraska- L
11/24- Rutgers- W
Overall Record- 8-4
Against The Spread Selection: Under 9 Wins -120
My reason for the pick :
As I stated multiple times Michigan State will have to win against the best of them if they want to return back to the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2015 but that is a tough task given the state of the conference. Michigan State will lose at home against their in-state rivals Michigan because like Sparty they have reloaded their talent just as much as well as obtained some key pieces. The turning point in Michigan State’s season will be when they lose on the road against Nebraska as Scott Frost should have that place rocking for an upset at the end of the season. Michigan State has been known for losing easy games in years past which has prevented them to return back to the top of the Big Ten East and that is exactly what happens this year. Take Michigan State under the 9 win total.