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Michigan State Leaps From 7 to 9.5 Point Favorite Against Northwestern After Week 4 Lines Open

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Football

Sep 18, 2019 · 6:26 AM PDT

Brian Lewerke
  • The Michigan State Spartans and Northwestern Wildcats square off Saturday afternoon (12:00 PM ET, Sep. 21)
  • The Spartans have gone from 7 to 9.5 point favorites in the past two days
  • What’s the best ATS bet for Michigan State-Northwestern?

Online sports books may have been down on Michigan State after an embarrassing 10-7 loss at home to Arizona State last week, but it appears college football bettors are not.

The Spartans opened as 7-point favorites at Northwestern this weekend (Saturday, September 21 at 12:00 PM ET) but that number has quickly been bet up -10.

Michigan State Spartans vs Northwestern Wildcats Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Over/Under
Michigan State Spartans -380 -9.5 (-110) Over 39 (-110)
Northwestern Wildcats +290 +9.5 (-110) Under 39 (-110)

*All odds taken 09/18/19

Both teams have performed poorly against the spread this season, with Michigan State posting a 1-2 record and Northwestern failing to cover in each of its first two games.

You can see the odds movement experienced at each sportsbook in our Spartans vs Wildcats odds page.

Positive Regression is Coming for the Spartans Offense

The opening line for this matchup feels like overreaction to the Spartans poor offensive performance against the Sun Devils, which upon further review is slightly misleading. Michigan State racked up over 400 yards of offense on the Nation’s 18th most efficient defense and could have won comfortably if not for three missed field goals.

Now the Spartans get to face a Wildcats defense that is fresh off surrendering over 5 yards per play against a UNLV offense that barely cracks the top-100. Michigan State averages 430 yards of offense per game and should have no problem moving the ball through the air and especially on the ground. Positive regression is coming for the Spartans offense and it starts this week.

The Wildcats Will Struggle to Score

The biggest mismatch of this game will be the Spartans front seven against the Wildcats rushing attack. Michigan State is allowing just 23.3 rushing yards per game, and a measly 0.9 yards per carry. Northwestern will likely struggle to run the football which will put even more pressure on Hunter Johnson’s shoulders.

The sophomore quarterback has struggled mightily in first two games this season, completing just 42.9% of his passes, despite facing two teams that rank 82nd and 97th in defensive efficiency. Now he has to go up against a Spartans defense that is not only elite at stopping the run, but also in coverage. They’ve held opposing quarterbacks to just 181 passing yards per game this season, while forcing three interceptions and recovering three fumbles. Expect a long afternoon for Johnson and the Wildcats offense.

Buy the Move on Michigan State

It never feels good to back a near double-digit road favorite but it’s hard to envision Northwestern scoring enough points to keep this game close.

Michigan State is the third highest rated defense according to Bill Connelly’s S&P rankings, and should feast on the Wildcats 119th ranked offense. The total for this game is only 39 points, so while online sportsbooks don’t expect much scoring, the bulk of it will be done by the Spartans.

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