College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Western Kentucky vs. Michigan State: Back The Offenses With Over
Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Payton Thorne.
- At 4-0, Michigan State has been one of the biggest surprises in the country thus far.
- The Spartans are 21st in the country in rushing thanks to Wake Forest transfer Kenneth Walker III.
- Keg previews down the matchup and provides his best bet.
Western Kentucky vs. Michigan State Odds
|Western Kentucky Odds||+10.5 (-110)|
|Michigan State Odds||-10.5 (-110)|
|Moneyline||+310 / -410|
|Over/Under||66.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
The best deal in college football returns Saturday night. That’s right — we’ve got another Zappe Hour in primetime.
Western Kentucky will travel to Michigan State after nearly upsetting Indiana last week at home.
Meanwhile, the Spartans were able to hold off Nebraska in a close game last week en route to an impressive 4-0 start to 2021.
Will Western’s explosive offense be able to give Michigan State its first loss, or will Sparty’s ground game overpower the Hilltoppers?
Let’s break it down.
Western Kentucky vs. Michigan State Betting Preview
Western Kentucky Offense
Western Kentucky’s offense has been one of the best in college football so far this season, ranking first in passing yards while averaging 41.7 points per game.
Led by quarterback Bailey Zappe completing 71% of his passes and averaging 507 yards per game, it feels like Western might be one of the better Group of Five teams this year.
The Hilltoppers have also been able to score once they make it inside the opposition’s 20-yard line, ranking eighth in college football in red zone efficiency.
With the 14th-ranked offense in college football, Western Kentucky will be sure to give the Spartans problems.
One major area the Hilltoppers should be able to have a big advantage is on third downs, when they convert 57%, which is fourth in the country.
Western Kentucky Defense
The Western defense has struggled, but it has made stops when needed.
While the Hilltoppers have allowed 439 yards and 30 points per game, they’ve been able to stop teams at a 60% rate on third down.
The biggest weakness for this Western Kentucky defense will be stopping the run. It ranks 99th in the nation in rush yards allowed and might be in for a long night against the Michigan State ground attack.
Both losses for this Western Kentucky team have come by a combined five points, so it can keep games close and step up when they need to.
I expect them to do the same this week against the Spartans.
Michigan State Offense
Michigan State has been surprisingly impressive so far this season, especially when running the football. The Spartans currently have the 22nd ranked rushing offense in college football.
Michigan State will no doubt look to take advantage of a WKU defense that has struggled against the run. The Spartans are averaging 215 rush yards per game.
Meanwhile, quarterback Peyton Thorne has completed 62% of passes while leading Sparty to its first 4-0 start since 2015.
This will be a real test for Western Kentucky and it will be interesting to see if they are able to find answers against their second Big Ten team in as many weeks.
Michigan State Defense
So far, the Spartans defense has been solid, limiting opponents to an average of 18 points per game through four games. But there are some issues that may be front and center against Zappe and the No. 1-ranked offense in terms of passing yards.
The Spartans’ defense has allowed 396 yards per game and ranks 99th in pass yards allowed. They’ve also struggled to get stops when it matters most, stopping only 39.5% of third downs.
One way Michigan State may be able to limit the pass game of the Hilltoppers is if it’s able to break through and put pressure on Zappe. Sparty ranks second in the country with 14 sacks through four games.
Western Kentucky vs. Michigan State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Western Kentucky and Michigan State match up statistically:
Western Kentucky Offense vs. Michigan State Defense
Michigan State Offense vs. Western Kentucky Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Michigan State is 0-2 against the spread (ATS) as a favorite and 2-9 in its last 11 games as a double-digit favorite.
WKU, however, is 4-1 ATS in its last five games on the road, as well as 3-0 ATS this season.
I do think this game will be close, but it’s hard to take a 10-point spread with both of these teams especially excelling in one part of their offense, making it tough to see how they match up.
But there’s no question that both offenses match up perfectly against the defenses they will face. Western has a strong passing game against Michigan State’s subpar secondary, while the Spartans’ run game should have no issues against the Hilltoppers’ defense.
Western Kentucky vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
I’m taking the over in a game that I expect both offenses to work freely.
As of Thursday afternoon, both BetMGM and PointsBet had the total at 64, although it’s 64.5 elsewhere. I would feel comfortable betting it up to 65.5.
Pick: Over 64.5 (Play to 65.5)
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