College Football Odds, Picks for Washington vs. Michigan State
Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Penix Jr. (Washington)
Washington vs. Michigan State Odds
In a game filled with headlines off the field, No. 8 Washington hits the road to play Michigan State in a battle of unbeatens.
The Huskies’ high-flying offense has been on full display this season and is averaging 49.5 points per game.
Meanwhile, the spotlight will be on the changes in the Spartans’ coaching staff after Mel Tucker was suspended earlier this week.
Even with all the news surrounding this game, I have a sneaky suspicion this contest may be more competitive than most expect.
The best value is on the total, so let's make a Washington vs. Michigan State over/under betting pick.
Coming into the season, there were lofty expectations for returning quarterback Michael Penix Jr., and he hasn’t disappointed.
After two games, Penix ranks fourth in multiple passing categories, including yards (859), touchdowns (8) and QBR (91.7).
Of course, it helps that his top five receivers from a season ago are back, including a pair of 1,000-yard pass catchers in Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan.
Coach Kalen DeBoer has built one of the top offenses in the country, and the advanced metrics back up that claim.
The Huskies rank inside the top 20 in both Pass (3rd) and Rush Success Rate (17th), as well as Finishing Drives (13th). However, this should be their toughest test yet.
A familiar name will be returning to the Michigan State sidelines, as former coach Mark Dantonio was named associate head coach.
Dantonio returns to help interim head coach Harlon Barnett, who's been a member of the defensive coaching staff for 15 years.
On the field, the Spartans have handled their business, dominating both Central Michigan and Richmond.
One key to the success has been the play of quarterback Noah Kim. The redshirt junior was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for a career-high 292 yards and three scores against the Spiders.
Kim is leading the conference in passing (285.5 ypg) and is tied for first in passing touchdowns (five). He's also second in the Big Ten in passing efficiency (189.6 rating) and total offense (296 ypg).
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Washington and Michigan State match up statistically:
Washington Offense vs. Michigan State Defense
Michigan State Offense vs. Washington Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|Special Teams SP+||89||7|
|Seconds per Play||29.1 (99)||26.8 (65)|
|Rush Rate||33.3% (131)||55.2% (47)|
Washington vs. Michigan State
Betting Pick & Prediction
This is a tricky game to handicap because of all of the unknowns surrounding Michigan State. Beyond the coaching staff changes, the Spartans have yet to be challenged against an opponent as good as Washington.
Despite the soft schedule, I'm impressed with how they've performed so far.
This will also be the toughest test the Washington offense has faced this season and although it won't be my favorite bet of the week, I like the total at under 55 — which is the most popular key number for college football, according to Collin Wilson’s research — or better.
Yes, I spent most of the preview talking about the great quarterback play on both side, but I think weak competition has padded the numbers.
For starters, the Huskies were able to take advantage of depleted Boise State and Tulsa secondaries.
Meanwhile, the Spartans have played opponents from the Mid-American Conference and FCS level.
Also, neither of these teams play at a very fast tempo; Michigan State is 65th in seconds per play, but Washington is 99th.
If there's one thing we know, it's that Dantonio will want to play at a slower pace to keep the Huskies’ high-powered offense off of the field.
Once you add in the new clock rules, I think this total is just a bit too high.
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