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Pinstripe Bowl Picks & Odds: Wake Forest Looks to Pull Upset on Michigan State Team That Went 3-9 ATS

Pinstripe Bowl coaches 2019
Dave Clawson and Mark Dantonio will face off in the 2019 edition of the Pinstripe Bowl. Photo from @PinstripeBowl (Twitter)
  • Michigan State is a 4-point favorite against Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl
  • This is the first-ever meeting between the two programs
  • The Spartans dropped 5 of their last 7, and Wake Forest lost 3 of their last 4

This year’s edition of the Pinstripe Bowl features two teams that are desperately looking for a big win after limping to the end of the 2019 regular season.

Michigan State (6-6, 4-5 Big Ten) has looked lifeless for close to two months now as Mark Dantonio’s future with the program remains in doubt, while Wake Forest (8-4, 4-4 ACC) began the season 7-1 before stumbling to a 1-3 finish.

This will be the first-ever meeting for these two programs, and the Michigan State vs Wake Forest odds favor the Spartans by four points.

Michigan State Spartans vs Wake Forest Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Michigan State -4 (-110) -180 O 50 (-110)
Wake Forest +4 (-110) +160 U 50 (-110)

Odds taken Dec 19

Down Year for the Spartans

This was a disappointing year in East Lansing. They finished with a 6-6 record, and dropped 5 of the last 7 games on their schedule. 

Even more concerning was the way they lost. Against ranked opponents, the average final score was 36-7, a 29-point margin, in favor of the opponents.

A big factor in this poor season was the offensive ineptitude. The Spartans rank 107th nationally in points per game (22), and 112th in touchdowns scored (29).

Quarterback Brian Lewerke’s numbers are similarly pedestrian. He completed just 58.6% of his throws for only 2,759 yards. He also finished the year with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of just 16-12.


Defensively, this season was similarly rough for Michigan State. The Spartans allowed 31 touchdowns against Power Five opponents, putting them at 90th in the nation.

Wake Looking for a Ninth Win

The Demon Deacons got off to a strong start, but sputtered to the finish line. They finished with an 8-4 record, but 3 of those defeats came in the last 4 weeks of the year.

The story in Winston-Salem this year was the offense, led by dual-threat quarterback Jamie Newman. Through the air, he racked up 2,693 yards and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 23-10. On the ground, he rushed for 487 yards and a team-high 6 rushing touchdowns.

Around him was a strong three-headed rushing attack. Cade Carney led the team with 556 yards while adding 5 scores of his own. Kenneth Walker followed with 555 yards and 4 scores, and Christian Beal-Smith brought up the rear with 304 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The defense was highlighted by do-everything linebacker Carlos Basham Jr. He had 53 tackles, 10 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and added 2 passes defended as well in 2019.

What’s the Best Bet?

Wake Forest was a pedestrian 5-6-1 against the spread, but the best bet here is more of a bet against the Spartans than it is for the Demon Deacons.

In 2019, Michigan State went 3-9 against the spread. They were 3-5 against the spread in games where they were the favorite. Against non-conference opponents, they were 1-2 against the spread. When the opponent had equal rest, the Spartans held a 2-5 mark against the number.

All of those qualifiers apply to this Pinstripe Bowl matchup, and that’s why going against Michigan State is the best bet here.

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