NCAA Football Free Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

In a game that showcases two teams that are nationally ranked in the Top 25, the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (-3.5) are paying a visit to their in-conference foe No. 24 Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. The critical afternoon matchup is scheduled to kick off at 12:00 p.m. ET and FOX will televise the action.

Betting Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans

In this Saturday Big Ten game, Ohio State is projected as the favorite and is currently giving up 3.5 points. The Buckeyes are also receiving -175 moneyline odds while the Spartans are +155. This Big 10 matchup should provide several decent live betting opportunities, and Vegas has placed the over/under (O/U) at 54 points.

The Buckeyes are 3-5-1 against the spread (ATS) and are down 2.3 units this season. The team has posted an O/U record of 4-5.

The Spartans have gained 0.1 units for moneyline bettors this year. They’re 4-5 ATS and also have an O/U record of 4-5.

The Buckeyes have gone 8-1 straight up (SU), including 5-1 SU against Big 10 opponents. The Spartans are 6-3 SU overall and 4-2 SU in conference play.

The Buckeyes just scored a 36-31 win over Nebraska last week in which Dwayne Haskins completed only 18-of-32 passes for 252 yards, two scores and one interception. J.K. Dobbins (163 rushing yards on 23 attempts, three TDs) and Mike Weber (91 yards on nine carries) led the ground attack in the win while Johnnie Dixon (five receptions, 96 yards, one TD) and Parris Campbell (four catches, 31 yards, one TD) manned the receiving duties.

Michigan State enters this one after just getting a big 24-3 win over Maryland. The team’s defensive unit did its job in the victory, keeping the Terrapins to just 74 passing yards and 26 rushing yards. Tayon Fleet-Davis had a productive outing in the loss for Maryland, recording zero yards and a score on zero catch. For Michigan State, Brian Lewerke completed 11-of-20 passes for 87 yards and one interception. Connor Heyward (157 yards on 15 rush attempts, two TDs) and La’Darius Jefferson (30 yards on 11 carries) handled the ground game in the win as Darrell Stewart Jr. (three receptions, 24 yards) and Cody White (two catches, 20 yards) led the receiving corps.

Each of these teams has a similar run-pass ratio on the season. Ohio State has run the ball on 48.6 percent of its offensive possessions while Michigan State has a rush percentage of 50.1. The Buckeyes have rushed for 178.1 yards per game (including 149.2 per game versus Big Ten opponents) and have 15 touchdowns via handoffs this year. The Spartans are averaging 125.6 rushing yards per game (123.7 in conference) and have 13 total rush TDs.

The Buckeyes offense has averaged a superb 369.1 yards through the air overall (368.8 per game against conference opposition) and has 33 passing TDs so far. The Spartans have recorded 234.8 pass yards per contest (221 against Big 10 competition) and have 11 total pass scores.

Defensively, Ohio State has allowed 153.4 rush yards and 243.9 pass yards per game. The Michigan State defense has allowed 253.4 yards per game to opposing passers and 71.7 yards per game to opposing runners. The Spartans are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 4.89 to opponents, while the Buckeyes have given up a 6.27 ANY/A.

Offensively, Haskins has already amassed 2,583 passing yards this year, and has completed 193-of-274 attempts with 30 scores through the air and only five interceptions. He has a 10.29 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 6.57 over the last two games.

The Buckeyes will probably try to maintain the pace by feeding their running backs early and often. Backfield mates J.K. Dobbins (660 rush yards, seven rush TDs, 152 receiving yards, one receiving TD) and Mike Weber (562 rush yards, three rush TDs, 62 receiving yards, one receiving TD) have brought significant production to the Ohio State offensive scheme.

Rocky Lombardi has completed 1-of-4 passes for 9 yards, zero TDs and one INT for Michigan State. His ANY/A stands at a horrendous -8.50 for the year and 6.22 over his last two outings.

The Spartans will also try to dictate the game’s pace by turning to their backfield. In addition to Connor Heyward (135 receiving yards), Jalen Nailor (101 rush yards, one rush TD, 42 receiving yards, one receiving TD) and Darrell Stewart Jr. (15 rush yards, 190 receiving yards) have gotten a multitude of action lately.

When these two schools met last year, Ohio State won easily 48-3.

Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans Betting Pick

SU Winner: Michigan State, ATS Winner: Michigan State, O/U: Under

Team Betting Notes

  • The Ohio State defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 27 times this year. Michigan State has registered 22 sacks.
  • The Michigan State offense has lost five fumbles this season while Ohio State has let four get away.
  • The Buckeyes offense has created 10 pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Spartans have put up two such plays.
  • The Ohio State defense has allowed eight pass plays of 40 yards or more, while Michigan State has given up three such plays.
  • The Ohio State offense has created 11 rushing plays of 20+ yards, while Michigan State has created seven such runs.
  • The Buckeyes defense has allowed 14 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Spartans have given up four such runs.
  • The Over/Under for Michigan State’s last matchup was 43.5. The under cashed in the team’s 24-3 victory over Maryland.
  • Over its last three contests, Michigan State is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
  • Over its last three contests, Ohio State is 0-3 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • The Over/Under for Ohio State’s previous game was set at 75.5. The under cashed in the team’s 36-31 win over Nebraska.
  • As a team, Ohio State has rushed for 4.1 yards per attempt over its last three games and 4.7 over its last two.
  • Michigan State has averaged 3.6 yards per carry over its last three contests and 4.4 over its last two.