College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions Michigan State vs. Purdue: Play the Underdog in Saturday’s Matchup
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David Bell.
- Michigan State, coming off a massive comeback win over Michigan, will travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue
- The Boilermakers have already pulled a massive upset once this season when they beat Iowa on the road.
- Mike McNamara breaks down if they can do it again in Week 10.
Michigan State vs. Purdue Odds
|Michigan State Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
The Michigan State Spartans continue to be one of the great stories of the 2021 college football season. Last week, a new chapter was written, with the Spartans’ come-from-behind victory over in-state rival Michigan. Now, they’ll face a potential spoiler in the Purdue Boilermakers.
Michigan State moved to 8-0, and in the first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings, the Spartans checked in at No. 3 in the country.
On the Purdue side, the Boilermakers notched a solid bounce-back victory over Nebraska last week in Lincoln. That win moved Purdue to 5-3 overall for the season, and the Boilers are very much still alive in the Big Ten West race.
Purdue has already knocked off one top-five team this season when it went into Iowa City and took down undefeated Iowa. The Boilermakers return home this week with a chance to end another team’s perfect season.
Does Purdue have the formula to upset Michigan State in a classic letdown spot? Let’s find out.
Spartans Continue to Find a Way
The Spartans trailed Michigan, 30-14, in the third quarter, and things were looking pretty grim. Then, Kenneth Walker III showed why he’s a Heisman candidate. Walker found the end zone three times in the second half and was the catalyst to the Spartan comeback.
In every tight-game situation this MSU team has been in, it continues to make the plays that need to be made. The Spartans don’t jump out at you in any specific area, but they are rock solid across the board.
Balance offensively has been one of the keys, with Walker leading the way on the ground, and Payton Thorne being able to keep defenses honest through the air. The Spartans rank top-40 nationally in both Passing Success and Rushing Success.
Michigan State’s Defensive Red-Zone Success
One area that has really buoyed the Spartan defense is its ability to keep opponents from scoring touchdowns. Michigan State comes in at 13th nationally in Defensive Finishing Drives, and the Spartans forced Michigan to settle for four field goals last time out.
A key factor in Saturday’s matchup will be continuing to keep this trend going against Purdue’s offense.
David Bell is the Boilers’ go-to threat on the money downs, so containing him will definitely be at the forefront of Mel Tucker’s game plan.
Purdue’s Pass-Heavy Offense
A vast majority of Purdue’s offensive success continues to come through the air. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell completed 34 of his 45 attempts against Nebraska, and most importantly, he did not turn the ball over.
Let’s take a look at the Boilers’ last four games:
- vs. Minnesota (L)
- at Iowa (W)
- vs. Wisconsin (L)
- at Nebraska (W)
It’s no surprise that in the two victories, O’Connell did not throw an interception and made the right decisions in the pocket.
In the losses, he was intercepted three times against Wisconsin, and also turned it over in big spots against Minnesota.
Michigan showed that this MSU secondary can be had through the air, so if O’Connell can play mistake-free football, there should be plenty of opportunities for him to find Bell down the field.
Boilermakers’ Consistent Defensive Play
Purdue continues to be extremely consistent on the defensive end. The Boilermakers rank 26th in Defensive Rush Success and fourth against the pass.
Moreover, with a Havoc ranking of 10th and a Defensive Finishing Drives rank of 11th, this group has done a really good job of forcing turnovers and keeping opponents out of the end zone.
I believe this Purdue defense has the personnel to give the MSU offense some problems. The Spartan offense runs through Walker, and Purdue has the type of interior that will be able to slow him down.
When Thorne drops back to pass, Purdue should be able to put pressure on him, and the back end of this defense has been solid all year. Forcing a turnover or two would go a long way in making the upset possible.
Michigan State vs. Purdue Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Michigan State and Purdue match up statistically:
Michigan State Offense vs. Purdue Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Purdue Offense vs. Michigan State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||87||122|
|Plays per Minute||32||61|
|Rush Rate||57.3% (47)||42.4% (124)|
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Michigan State vs. Purdue Betting Pick
This line opened with Michigan State as a three-point favorite, and has pretty much stayed right there throughout the week. Many casual bettors might be surprised to see the No. 3 team in the country as such a small favorite against an unranked Purdue team.
Well, this line is short for a reason. Purdue is an extremely solid team on both sides of the ball, and West Lafayette will be rocking for this one. The Spartans have found a way to win every close game they have been in this season, but they have not exactly been dominant throughout their run.
I believe Purdue has the defensive front to keep Walker in check, and it should also be able to bring pressure after Thorne.
Tucker has done an incredible job of keeping the Spartans locked in on a week-to-week basis, but coming off a massive victory with Ohio State on the horizon, I have to think there could be a bit of a letdown from the Spartans in this one.
Jeff Brohm has his team trending in the right direction, and a win here would go a long way in making 2021 a successful season.
The Spartans burned me last week against Michigan, but this dream run has to end at some point, right? Give me Purdue to not only cover, but win the football game outright.
Pick: Purdue ML +130
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