Michigan State Spartans College Football Betting
Mel Tucker’s first season in charge of the Michigan State Spartans hasn’t gone well. They are 2-5 entering their final game of the regular season, and they will finish with a losing record for just the second time this decade. Perhaps that was expected after Mark Dantonio’s abrupt resignation in February put this program in a bind, but it’s still a disappointment. However, there are some bright spots. The Spartans stunned arch-rival Michigan 27-24 in Ann Arbor on Halloween, and they dealt Northwestern their lone loss of the season to this point. That has fans somewhat optimistic heading into Michigan State’s season finale with the Maryland Terrapins.
The Spartans will travel to College Park to take on the Terrapins on Saturday, December 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.
Michigan State Spartans Weekly Odds
Michigan State Spartans +2
Maryland Terrapins -2
Michigan State Spartans Weekly Matchup
There has yet to be a line released on this game. Maryland was originally supposed to host Michigan State on November 21, but that game was canceled due to an outbreak of COVID in the Terps’ program. In the 11 previous games between these schools, Michigan State is 9-2 and no game has seen more than 52 points scored.
Promising young quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was unable to play against Rutgers last week due to COVID-19, and that will leave him out for this game as well. In his absence, the Terps turned to Lance LeGendre against the Scarlet Knights, but he was pulled in favor of walk-on Eric Najarian due to ineffective play. Najarian was much better, completing 12 of 23 passes for 218 yards and two scores, so he is likely to start this week.
Mike Locksley is going to emphasize the ground game with an inexperienced quarterback at the helm. Jake Funk had a great game against Rutgers last week with 180 yards and a score on just 17 carries, so Funk will likely see a heavy load against the Spartans. Funk has run for 516 yards (8.6 YPC) and three touchdowns on the season, and he is fresh after missing almost a month of action.
Michigan State’s defense has been spotty this season. The Spartans are allowing 35.1 PPG and 396.7 YPG on the year. The front seven doesn’t do a good job of creating pressure, so Najarian will likely have time to throw.
Even if Rocky Lombardi is cleared to return from concussion protocol, Payton Thorne should be starting on Saturday for Michigan State. The freshman showed a lot of promise with his play against Penn State last week, and it’s better to roll with Thorne going forward then the turnover-prone junior.
Thorne has two good receivers in Jalen Nailor and Jayden Reed. Nailor has 26 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns, while Reed has 33 receptions for 407 yards and three touchdowns.
The Spartans’ run game has been awful this year. Michigan State is averaging just 2.7 YPC and 90.7 YPG putting everything on the passing game. That has created a lot of the issues with turnovers as Lombardi felt the need to force.
Michigan State Spartans Weekly Recap
The Spartans were double-digit underdogs on the road against the Penn State Nittany Lions last week. That’s been a nice spot for Michigan State so far though, as the Spartans upset both Michigan and Northwestern in a similar position.
It looked like Michigan State would claim another big win early on against Penn State. The Spartans took a 21-10 lead into halftime thanks to some big plays from Payton Thorne to Jalen Nailor, but the Nittany Lions outscored the Spartans 29-3 in the second half to get the win and the cover.
Thorne was impressive in his debut, completing 22 of 39 passes for 325 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Nailor had six catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns, as Michigan State had one of its most productive days on offense this season.
2020 Michigan State Spartans Schedule
||vs. Ohio State
||@ Penn State
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