Michigan vs. Michigan State Betting Preview
October 27, 2021
For the first time since 1964, Michigan and Michigan State square off with both teams ranked in the top-10. This is also the first time in this historic in-state rivalry that both teams will be 7-0 or better when they face off. This is an elimination game for both teams ahead of November clashes with Ohio State, the other team with an unblemished Big Ten record. The Spartans have won nine of the last 13 meetings between these two teams, but this is the best Wolverines team in a long time, and they are eager to prove themselves as the superior Michigan team.
Michigan vs Michigan State Pick
This battle of unbeatens is scheduled for a noon Eastern kickoff at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan on Saturday, October 30.
Why bet on the Spartans:
✅ Michigan State has a far better passing game than Michigan, which could prove to be the difference this week. This is the most complete offense the Wolverines have had to face and it will test the Michigan defense if it focuses too much on slowing down Kenneth Walker III. The Wolverines are averaging just 20 passing attempts per game, and don't have the same weapons in the passing game to scare the Michigan State secondary. When in doubt take the better quarterback, and that is Michigan State's Payton Thorne.
✅ This will be a battle of run defenses with how dominant both teams have been rushing in the first half of the season. Michigan State is holding teams to just 3.3 yards per carry, slightly better than the 3.6 yards per carry Michigan has allowed. In addition, Michigan has allowed more than 125 rushing yards in a game four times in seven games while Michigan State has only done it three times. The margins are very small, but Michigan State's defense has also done slightly better at limiting yards when facing a lot of attempts than a Michigan has this season.
✅ The Spartans have the stronger return man in Jayden Reed, who has already returned two punts for touchdowns this season. Reed is averaging 23.3 yards per return on the nine punts he's returned this season and he's averaging 26 yards per kickoff return on eight kick returns. Michigan State also has the stronger-legged punter, which should give the Spartans an edge in the field position battle against Michigan.
Michigan is 7-0 this year with a conservative offensive strategy that relies on its running back tandem in the backfield. Blake Corum has rushed for 729 yards and 10 touchdowns with a 6.3 yards-per-carry average while Hassan Haskins has run for 602 yards and 10 touchdowns with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. The running game has complemented a successful year for the smothering defense that ranks second in the nation in scoring defense at 14.3 points per game. Aidan Hutchinson leads the defense with 5.5 sacks, followed closely by David Ojabo, who has five sacks and forced two fumbles already.
Michigan State has turned the program around in Mel Tucker's second year thanks to its exploits in the transfer portal. The main prize has been running back Kenneth Walker III, who leads the nation with 142.6 yards per game this season thanks to two 200-yard performances already this season. He is averaging an impressive 6.6 yards per carry and has rushed for nine touchdowns to lead the Spartans offense. Michigan State's defense also ranks in the top-20 in points allowed at 18.7 per game with Xavier Henderson leading the charge with 60 tackles and Jacob Panasiuk pressuring the quarterback with 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles-for-loss.