Michigan vs. Michigan State Player Props: Target Kenneth Walker’s Rushing Yards & More Picks

Michigan vs. Michigan State Player Props: Target Kenneth Walker’s Rushing Yards & More Picks article feature image
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Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III.

Player props have become more common in the college football betting market, alongside standard spreads or totals this season.

PrizePicks, which is available in most states, has a plethora available for Saturday’s top-10 showdown between Michigan and Michigan State.

These are all the players and categories listed for the Big Ten clash, including a few best bets on the over/unders we like.

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Editor’s note: All totals listed below are the over/under on PrizePicks.

Quarterbacks 

Cade McNamara (Michigan)

  • Passing Yards: 162.5
  • Passing TDs: 1

McNamara’s passing total is the third-lowest among Power 5 quarterbacks in Week 9. However, the deflated number of 162.5 more reflects Michigan’s game plan than it does the junior’s talent. Head coach Jim Harbaugh is dialing up run plays on 65.8% of snaps this season, good for the seventh-highest clip in the nation.

Michigan has also benefited from fast starts and early leads, setting the offense up in positive game scripts.

But could Saturday be an ideal opportunity to let it fly against a spotty defensive backfield?

Michigan State’s strength is the front seven, which is top 15 in rush yards allowed per carry (3.2). The secondary, meanwhile, ranks 121st nationally in passing yards allowed per game (286) and 86th in opponent completion percentage (63.6%).

McNamara’s volume’s trending up. After posting just 13.2 pass attempts per game the first four weeks, he’s averaged an even 31 over the last three.

The touchdown total is a bit murky, but McNamara will crush this passing total to make it 163 or more in five of his last six.

Pick: Over 162.5 Passing Yards

Payton Thorne (Michigan State)

  • Passing Yards: 224.5
  • Passing TDs: 1.5
  • Rushing Yards: 8.5
  • Interceptions: 0.5

Interceptions are tricky to cap, but I feel Thorne’s over is a fantastic look.

Michigan’s defense is ranked 22nd overall in pass efficiency. Among the top-25 teams in this department, no unit has fewer interceptions than the Wolverines (4).

They’re frankly due, and Thorne’s tossed a pick in three of his last four games after being perfect the first three weeks.

Pick: Over 0.5 Interceptions

Running Backs

Blake Corum (Michigan)

  • Rushing Yards: 92.5
  • Receptions: 2.5

Corum’s enjoying his breakout season.

Recruited as an athlete, he’s found a home in the backfield as the go-to guy alongside Hassan Haskins. Corum is averaging 6.3 yards per carry and has crossed the century mark in four games this season.

This over would be a nice play, but Haskins is still getting a large enough share in the offense — rush attempts of 23, 21 and 19 the last three games — to dissuade me from betting Corum’s total.

As previously mentioned, Sparty’s stout against the run. I’d lean under, but ultimately don’t see enough value.

Pick: Pass

Kenneth Walker (Michigan State)

  • Rushing Yards: 86.5
  • Rushing Touchdowns: 0.5

This just screams a buy-low spot on Walker, who owns the shortest odds among running backs to win the Heisman Trophy (+1800). He has close to 1,000 yards on the year, averaging better than 6.5 yards per carry.

The Wake Forest transfer is coming off one of his worst games of the year against Indiana, against which he averaged just 3.7 yards per rush without a touchdown for just the second time all season.

Walker will see the majority of snaps — he has four times as many totes as the next-leading rusher on the roster — and perhaps draws a fluky Michigan run defense that hasn’t seen a lot of volume this year due to leading in virtually every game.

Walker has taken at least 19 hand-offs in four straight. It might not be pretty on Saturday, but he’ll see enough volume to go over the total in both categories

Picks: Over 86.5 Rushing Yards & Over 0.5 Touchdowns

Wide Receivers

Cornelius Johnson (Michigan)

  • Receptions: 2.5

Johnson has shouldered a bigger load in the offense since Week 2 after Ronnie Bell went down with a season-ending injury.

The junior has snagged multiple passes in five consecutive entering Week 9. He’ll probably catch a couple more against a shoddy Sparty secondary, but you never really know how Michigan’s receiving corps’ output will shake out.

Six players on the roster have at least 11 catches, while no one player has more than 18. It’s essentially a log jam, with no real way to tell who’s primed for a big day, much less in a suppressed aerial attack.

Pick: Pass

Jayden Reed (Michigan State)

  • Receptions: 4
  • Receiving Yards: 67.5
  • Touchdowns: 0.5

Reed has been a big-play machine this year, averaging more than 20 yards per reception with seven total touchdowns.

He has been consistent in the stat sheet, catching between three and five passes in every game this fall, but we’ll play the under since he hasn’t surpassed this total since the opener.

 Pick: Under 4 Receptions

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