Bet of the Day – Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Wolverines, Oct. 9, 2010

Michigan State Spartans (+4.5) at Michigan Wolverines (-4.5), Over/Under 65

Yesterday’s bet, Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants, was a loser in extra innings.  Today’s bet is on the big in-state Spartan and Wolverines rivalry.  Both teams enter undefeated and atop the Big 10.  Today’s game is a challenge to bet and will be an exciting game.

The Spartans are coming off a big home win where they handled a good Wisconsin team.  Will they be up for two big games in a row?  The Spartans are averaging 7.2 yards per play (YPP) and 12.7 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense while allowing 4.6 YPP and 17.7 YPPT on defense. They are efficient on both sides of the ball.  Starting QB Kirk Cousins is averaging 9.43 yards per attempt (YPA) with 9 TDs and 4 INTs for a 164,82 QB rating. The Spartans also have a solid kicking game (7 for 7, with 4 FGs over 40 yds).  They convert points well on offense and have a strong defense.  Expect a big effort from the Spartans.

The Wolverines are much improved and coach Rich Rodriguez is safe (for today).  Michigan is averaging 8.1 YPP and 13.6 YPPT on offense allowing 5.7 YPP and 17.1 YPPT on defense.  The stats aren’t as efficient, but very close and Michigan has played a slightly tougher schedule.  QB Denard Robinson is averaging 10.5 YPA for 7 TDs and 1 INT for 179.97 QB rating.  Robinson is a huge running threat averaging 9.2 yards per rush with 8 TDs and 0 fumbles.  Robinson is the center of the Michigan offense and must have a big day to beat Michigan State.  Michigan has had some major kicking woes and doesn’t convert points as well as they should.  Michigan will have the home advantage against a team that hasn’t really played a road game yet.

The Sagarin Ratings have Michigan 81.82 and Michigan State at 79.92.  With the 3.01, the fair betting line is Michigan -4.91.  This is very close to the current line, so on ratings alone there isn’t big value on either side.  According to’s Sportsbook Spy, 64% of bets are on Michigan State and the line opened at -5.  There has been slight line movement to Michigan State but there isn’t a glaring sharp vs. public play.

My football model predicts Michigan 42.9 over Michigan State 37.5 for 80.4 total points.  Both teams collect tons of yards on offense, but with kicking and red zone penetration the Spartans are more efficient.    The Wolverine defense gives up too many passing yards.  The key variance contributors are Michigan’s pass defense and rushing offense (including Robinson).  Michigan has given up 308 passing yards per game.  If they give up this many yards to the Spartans, they will lose.  Also, the Wolverines must run the ball to their mean against a good defense or it could be a long day.

I think Michigan will win outright, but I am taking Michigan State plus the points.  Here’s why.  Michigan State is very effective; they convert points.  Michigan gives up too many yards.  Michigan State is balanced on offense and will have the line advantage.  Bet on the Michigan State Spartans +4.5.

Since this is an early game, I will post a quick play later today.  Feel free to comment or ask questions below or email me at  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!


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