College Football Betting Free Pick: Michigan State Spartans at Ohio State Buckeyes
CFB FREE PICK: Michigan State Spartans at Ohio State Buckeyes
#391 Michigan State +20 (Saturday, October 5 @ 7:30 pm EST)
Despite its strong pedigree, Ohio State is a backdoor touchdown away from being a perfect 5-0 against the spread this season. The Buckeyes have looked as dominant as any team in college football thanks to an ultra-efficient offense and much improved defense. The competition has been a bit questionable though Cincinnati and Nebraska were projected to be 8-win teams and OSU beat them by a combined score of 90-7. But at some point, two things are going to occur: One, OSU’s point spreads will eventually reach a breaking point and two, an opposing team isn’t going to let them march up and down the field and name the score. Both factors may very well be in play this weekend as Ohio State plays host to Michigan State.
The Spartans boast one of if not the best run defense in the country. Opponents are averaging less than two yards per carry. The toughest run defense Ohio State has faced was Indiana who currently allows two more yards per carry compared to Michigan State. Ohio State’s offense is predicated on running the football. Teams know this, stack the box, and then get beat by Justin Fields through the air. Michigan State won’t need to sell out to stop either entity.
The other factor is the emergence of Michigan State’s offense which quietly hung 71 points against Northwestern and Indiana the last two weeks. Quarterback Brian Lewerke looks far more comfortable than he did a season ago with he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. The Spartans still struggle to run the football and this is by no means a high-octane unit, but unlike last season, moving the football has come far easier in 2019.
Ohio State may appear to be a runaway freight train but the level of resistance they’ll see on Saturday is something they simply have yet to see. And it’ll be interesting to see how they react after playing five straight games in which everything broke right. But this really comes down to being able to back a capable underdog that can make life uncomfortable for a team that has yet to break a sweat. Ohio State was laying -3.5 in East Lansing last year and is now -20 at home. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t bump up their power rating since the last meeting but Sparty has earned one as well.
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