Michigan vs. Michigan State Best Bets: Our Staff’s Top Picks for Week 9’s Top-10 Duel

Michigan vs. Michigan State Best Bets: Our Staff’s Top Picks for Week 9’s Top-10 Duel article feature image
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Michigan vs. Michigan State Odds

Saturday, Oct. 30
Noon ET
FOX
Michigan Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-4
-110
50.5
-110o / -110u
-190
Michigan State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+4
-110
50.5
-110o / -110u
+155
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Saturday’s Week 9 college football slate features one of the most intriguing and consequential games of the season as No. 6 Michigan travels to East Lansing to face No. 8 Michigan State at noon ET on FOX.

The Wolverines and Spartans share far more than state boundaries and conference affiliation. Both programs rank in the Associated Press top 10, each carrying an unblemished 7-0 record into Saturday’s matchup.

Furthermore, Michigan and Michigan State are tied with No. 5 Ohio State for first place in the highly competitive Big Ten East. Among all college football conference and division races, the Big Ten East is arguably the most important.

College Football Playoff Implications

It is highly unlikely that two of the division’s top-10 teams would make the College Football Playoff. Rather, the Big Ten will likely earn a single bid: The Big Ten Conference Champion.

This dynamic ostensibly forces all three of Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State into a five-week, single-elimination regular-season tournament to close out the conference slate.

Continue to win your games, and you’ll advance to the next round of cuts. Stumble against another conference contender, and kiss your CFP hopes goodbye.

The Big Ten East Pseudo-Tournament Begins on Saturday, Oct. 30

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Beginning this weekend, the Big Ten East will be thrown into a cannibalistic frenzy as some of the top teams in the country must put up or shut up against a brutal schedule to close out the regular season.

The 2021-22 college football season turns a pivotal corner on Saturday. When No. 6 Michigan and No. 8 Michigan State kick off at noon ET, it will mark the unofficial starting line in the homestretch toward the College Football Playoff.


Our Best Bets for No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 8 Michigan State

Given the importance and excitement surrounding Saturday’s Big Ten rivalry game, it only makes sense that we bet on it. In that spirit, seven members of our college football betting staff have delivered their top picks for Michigan vs. Michigan State.

Four of our bettors are aligned on Michigan -4, one bettor is targeting the Michigan State team total, and — somewhat surprisingly — we even have two unique player prop picks among our staff’s best bets for No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 8 Michigan State.

Pick
Sportsbook
Michigan -4
Michigan -4
Michigan -4
Michigan -4
Michigan State TT under 23.5
Jayden Reed Player Prop
Payton Thorne Player Prop
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.


Michigan -4

By Mike McNamara

This was the very first bet I made when opening lines came out on Sunday afternoon. I love the Wolverines in this matchup and expect them to win somewhat comfortably.

Jim Harbaugh’s team has been extremely methodical throughout 2021, and it has passed every test that has been thrown its way. Cade McNamara has been a steady force under center, and Blake Corum is averaging over six yards a pop on the ground.

Defensively, the Wolverines present the biggest challenge Payton Thorne and the Michigan State offense will have faced thus far. Michigan has dynamic players on all levels of its defense, and they come after you from multiple angles.

You have to give a ton of credit to Mel Tucker and this Michigan State team for the 7-0 start they have had. Last season was a disaster, and many thought this group would be lucky to make a bowl game.

Now, the Spartans are inside the top 10 in the country, and the game of the weekend in Week 9 takes place in East Lansing.

It really is a heck of a story, but unfortunately, the road ends here. Michigan is the better team on both sides of the ball. I don’t see MSU having any success offensively, and Corum should be able to wear down the Spartan defense over the course of the game.

The Wolverines have their sights set on a Big Ten Championship, and this is the next obstacle for them to overcome. I’m laying the 4 and would also recommend Michigan as a great moneyline parlay piece.

Pick: Michigan -4

Michigan -4

By Kody Malstrom

Born and raised in the beautiful state of Michigan, this is my least favorite weekend in football. I hate Michigan. I despise Michigan State. Every day, someone inches closer to my mute list on Twitter as I read both delusional fan bases banter back and forth. Just get this game over with.

With that said, Go Blue.

While I silently pray for the downfall of Harbaugh, I do have to tip my cap to his squad this year.

Michigan has one of the most non-explosive offenses in the nation, but it still gets the job done with small chunks at a time. It has one of the most efficient offenses and a dangerous duo in the backfield.

MSU will have its hands full trying to stop the run game, as it ranks 66th in Def. Rush Success. The lines are evenly matched in the trenches, both ranking around 50-60.

Michigan will continue to look to run it down its opponent’s throat and can potentially find some success in passing if it chooses to do so. MSU has a Def. Pass Success rank of 68th.

On the other side, the Michigan defense is one of the more dominant units in football. Ranking 30th or better in nearly every defensive metric, the Wolverines will look to contain the respectable MSU offense. Heisman hopeful Kenneth Walker III will struggle when trying to break a big run.

Even worse for the Spartans, if they do find some success moving the ball on this stout defense, touchdowns may be far and few between. Michigan State has a horrible Finishing Drives rate, a metric that Michigan is top-10 in defending.

I grabbed a lookahead line last weekend when I saw Michigan was a -2 favorite. I would play this up to the current number of -4 and will also look to play the under as I see this shaping up to be a grueling run-heavy game.

Pick: Michigan -4

Michigan -4

By CJ Vogel

This should be a fun one. In-state rivals meeting inside the top 10 of this week’s AP Poll with both currently undefeated — sign me up.

I am rocking with Michigan at -4.5.

The Spartans will have had two weeks to prepare for Michigan and will enter the game very well rested, but I don’t believe that will be a significant edge in this one.

Michigan is rolling this season and will enter East Lansing with the second-ranked scoring defense in the country, allowing just 14.2 points per game this season.

It’s no secret that Kenneth Walker III is the go-to weapon for the Spartans, but he will find little success against a Wolverine defense that has allowed just 3.5 yards per carry this season.

There’s plenty of momentum on the Michigan side of things as well.

I am of the belief that Michigan is going to want to control this game from the get-go. Michigan is 13th in the country in time of possession, which means limited possessions and long drives will quiet a rowdy crowd and keep the game in the hands of Jim Harbaugh.

Blake Corum is a fine running back as well, and as long as Cade McNamara does not turn the ball over, this one should go the way of the Wolverines when it’s all said and done.

Pick: Michigan -4

Michigan -4

By Patrick Strollo

The run game has been the Wolverines’ bread and butter this season. Running backs Blake Corum and Hassan Haskins anchor the backfield. Both have gone for over 100 yards individually in two games this season.

Michigan ranks fifth in the nation in rushing offense, carrying the ball for an average of 253.3 yards per game.

The Michigan offensive line is one of the best lines in the nation and deserves the lion’s share of the credit for the running game success. The offensive line leads the nation in tackles for loss allowed, giving up an average of 1.71 per game.

Defensively, the Wolverines are an outstanding unit. They rank 11th nationally in total defense, giving up just under 300 yards per game. This is a dynamic unit that hasn’t shown many areas of vulnerability, defending the run and pass well.

They have a positive turnover margin of 0.86 per game. As a result, the Wolverines rank 35th in Defensive Havoc. Because of the Havoc they cause, the Wolverines set their offense up with some of the best average starting field position in the nation.

My model is projecting Michigan as a 5.73-point favorite in this game.

Michigan’s rushing offense and defense are the independent variables that have the largest impact on my projected total. Home-field advantage in the Big Ten is the lowest of the Power Five conferences, so I don’t expect the Wolverines to have an issue with an easy intrastate trip for a noon kickoff.

I recommend laying the points here.

Look for the Wolverines’ O-line and run game to smother Sparty. Ultimately, the tough Wolverine defense will secure the victory by winning the turnover battle.

Play this at -4 or better, and wait to bet live if you can’t get this number. I recommend risking one unit.

Pick: Michigan -4

Michigan State Team Total Under 23.5

By Doug Ziefel

The Michigan State offense looks formidable on paper. It averages 34 points per game while also showing it’s capable of being a “200 club” offense, which is putting up 200 yards passing and rushing in a game.

Though, none of the defenses the Spartans have faced are similar to the Wolverines.

The Spartans are a team that leans on their rushing attack behind star running back behind Kenneth Walker III. Walker is having a fantastic season, rushing for nearly 1,000 yards at 6.6 yards per attempt.

But Michigan’s defense has proven to shut down opposing running backs.

Its defense has held its opposition to 3.5 yards per rush and 115 yards per game, which ranks 29th and 22nd, respectively, among FBS teams.

If the running game is slowed down and the Spartans are forced into throwing the ball, Michigan should have an answer for that as well. It ranks ninth in the country in opponent completion percentage and 15th in passing yards allowed.

Michigan having a well-rounded defensive unit is not the only reason the Spartans will struggle in this one.

Sparty’s offense has issues in two key situations.

It’s been dreadful on third down, ranking 98th in conversion percentage. The other area is converting when given an opportunity. Michigan State ranks 86th in Finishing Drives, while the Wolverines are seventh in Defensive Finishing Drives.

This discrepancy points directly to Michigan State struggling to put up points in this matchup.

Pick: Michigan State team total under 23.5

Michigan State WR Jayden Reed Under 4 Receptions

By Darin Gardner

To date, Reed has surpassed this number just one time, which came in the first week against Northwestern.

He’s had some flashes, but Reed is the second option in this passing attack despite leading the team in yards, as Jalen Nailor has had 56 targets to Reed’s 40.

He’ll also have a tough task against this Michigan outside cornerback duo, as Gemon Green and Vincent Gray have combined to allow a total of 30 receptions into their coverage on 354 coverage snaps this season, per PFF.

Overall, the Wolverines rank 15th in PFF coverage grade.

Michigan State’s passing game has played well this season, but this secondary and overall defense will be a big step up in competition from the Spartans’ schedule to date.

Overall, most of the edges you’re going to find on player props are unders, and I see a line of four receptions as just a little too optimistic in this situation.

Pick: Jayden Reed under 4 receptions

Michigan State QB Payton Thorne Over 0.5 Interceptions

By Alex Kolodziej

Thorne’s been great for Michigan State’s passing game. He hasn’t thrown up Heisman numbers, but he has the second-most touchdowns of 15 or more yards in the entire country.

He’s also been more frenetic as the schedule tightens, however. Thorne’s thrown a pick in three of his last four games after finishing with a clean slate over his first three weeks.

Michigan’s 22nd nationally in pass efficiency allowed. Among all defenses in the top 25 of that category, the Wolverines have the fewest interceptions (4).

I’d say they’re due.

Pick: Payton Thorne over 0.5 interceptions

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