Akron vs. Michigan State Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back the Spartans Despite Large Spread
Photo by Jaime Crawford/Getty Images. Pictured: AJ Abbott & Jalen Berger (Michigan State)
- Michigan State hosts Akron one week after pummeling Western Michigan.
- The Spartans scored 35 points in that game, but it felt like they could've scored many more.
- Will that carry over into this matchup and help them cover the massive spread? Alex Kolodziej breaks it down.
Akron vs. Michigan State Odds
We’ll find out how hard the regression monster hits Michigan State following its pristine 11-2 campaign in 2021.
But not right now.
After squeaking out a cover as 21.5-point favorites in their Week 1 win over Western Michigan, head coach Mel Tucker and the Spartans welcome another tune-up to East Lansing before the schedule toughens up.
Expectations aren’t high for an Akron team projected to win two, maybe three games in 2022, and it’s reflected in the five-touchdown betting spread.
Is this a smash spot on the home team? Or are the points worth taking on the Zips, with a road game at Washington and subsequent Big Ten play upcoming for the Spartans?
Covering spreads — much less in the favorite role — is low atop the priority list for a program that just went 3-24 over Tom Arth’s three-year tenure.
Although it took extra time, Akron slipped in the win column in head coach Joe Moorhead’s debut last weekend, edging St. Francis (PA) as 17.5-point chalk.
Something about a win is a win is a win.
The Zips were +5 in adjusted defensive TARP entering the season, but it was hardly evident in the opener against a middling FCS squad.
Akron allowed St. Francis’ quarterback tandem to combine for 21-of-33 for 264 yards. Akron’s run defense, meanwhile, coughed up 5.4 yards to the top-three Red Flash ball carriers, and two broke off runs of 15 or longer.
DJ Irons sparked the Zips’ passing games with a couple splash plays. His favorite target was Shocky Jacques-Louis, whose 122 yards comprised roughly 43% of the Week 1 share.
However, the run game was awful, posting three yards per pop.
Michigan State needed a perfect, 14-0 fourth-quarter frame to seal the cover over Western Michigan in Week 1.
Quarterback Payton Thorne finished just 12-of-24, but one-third of his completions went for touchdowns.
One of the country’s most underrated deep-ball offenses from last season watched Keon Coleman, Tre Mosley and Germie Bernard burn the secondary for scores of 40 yards or longer.
Those three playmakers — plus No. 1 wide receiver Jayden Reed, who was top-five nationally in catches and touchdowns on targets 20+ yards downfield last year — will be salivating when the time comes to chuck.
Not only was Akron bottom-20 last season in yards per completion allowed (13.7), it let a pair of St. Francis receivers break the 80-yard threshold in Week 1. Good luck with that.
Tucker also has the luxury of using a couple of solid transfer backs in the running game, too, including Jalen Berger (16 carries, 120 yards, TD vs. WMU) and Jarek Broussard (10 carries, 54 yards).
Akron vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
Michigan State hung 35 last Saturday, but it felt like the offense left so much meat on the bone, much less against a defense that, despite sharing a conference with Akron, is markedly more talented.
The Spartans, who quietly rung up 7.5 yards per play, also missed a field goal, threw an interception and lost a fumble — all in Western Michigan territory.
Not all that variance comes back to even out the following week, however, I’d bank on the Spartans cleaning all that up and more against the easiest opponent on the 2022 docket.
The number is begging for Michigan State money, and I’ll happily oblige against an Akron team that’s been outscored by an average of 47 points vs. the last three Power Five clubs its faced in recent memory.