Michigan State Continues to Gain Support As Sportsbook Liability
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenneth Walker
There’s a new team that’s the top liability in college football futures at BetMGM: Michigan State.
Yes, the boys from East Lansing, coming off their worst football season on a winning percentage basis (2-5, .286) since 1982, would be the worst result for the sportsbook if they somehow won the title.
There’s 10 times the bets on Alabama, which obviously is much more likely to win it all, but the Spartans have six times the liability, even though they only represent 1.4 percent of total tickets on the title team.
Despite being 2000/1, bettors took some nibbles of Michigan State in the preseason. In fact, at BetMGM, the win total with the most lopsided money was the over on Michigan State of 5.5 wins. Of those who bet on the Spartans, 86 percent of the money came on the over.
Three weeks in, Michigan State is ranked No. 20, is 3-0, down to 150/1 to win the title and currently a five-point favorite against Nebraska this weekend.
Quarterback Payton Thorne has thrown for nine touchdowns with no interceptions. Running back Kenneth Walker III is seven yards short of 500, leading all of college football. Wide receiver Jayden Reed has 277 yards receiving (4th in the Big Ten) with three touchdowns.
Not only did some bettors love Michigan State in the preseason, many think the books are still getting them wrong.
Last week at BetMGM, 62 percent of the money was on Michigan State as a 6.5-point underdog against Miami. They won outright.
This week, Michigan State is the most bet on team by money and the third-most bet on tickets, behind Notre Dame and Arkansas.
Michigan State’s rise this year wasn’t that obvious. CBS Sports ranked coach Mel Tucker 13 out of 14 in the Big Ten coaching ranks and noted prognosticator Phil Steele predicted the Spartans to be last in the Big Ten East.
Depending on how they do Saturday, it’s possible that the Spartans will be favored in their next six games against Western Kentucky, Rutgers, Indiana, Michigan, Purdue and Maryland before closing the season with the tough task against Ohio State and Penn State.