The Indiana Hoosiers will host the Michigan State Spartans in a Big Ten match-up on Saturday. The Spartans enter this match-up ranked No. 9 according to CBS Sports, and Indiana is No. 68. Michigan State is 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. Indiana is 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Indiana and Michigan State have met in each season since 2011, with the Spartans taking eight of those last 10 games straight-up. Last year, Indiana beat Michigan State 24-0 as a seven-point road favorite in East Lansing.
Michigan State off to best start since 2015After finishing just 2-5 last year, the undefeated Michigan State Spartans are off to their best start since 2015. Currently, Michigan State is ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll for the first time since 2016. In the Big Ten, the Spartans have beaten Northwestern 38-21 and Nebraska 23-20 this season before last Saturday's 31-13 win over Rutgers. In non-conference games, Michigan State beat Youngstown State 42-14 and Western Kentucky 48-31 this season.
In the most recent victory, Michigan State covered the 5.5 points spread against Rutgers, improving to 4-0-2 against the spread this year.
The Spartans outgained Rutgers 588 to 377 in total yardage. Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne completed 16 or 27 passes for 339 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the win. Kenneth Walker III led the Spartans with 233 of the team's 339 rushing yards on 29 carries, including a 94-yard touchdown run.
On the season quarterback,Payton Thorne ranks second in the Big Ten with a 173.6 Rating. Thorne has completed 62.4% of his passes for 1,575 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. Kenneth Walker III is the nations leading rusher with 913 yards and averages 7.1 yards per carry with nine touchdowns.
The Michigan State defense is 12th in the Big Ten, allowing 420.5 yards per game, dead last giving up 301.7 passing yards, but fifth with 118.8 rushing yards allowed.
Hoosiers going for first Big Ten winAfter finishing 6-2 last year and 6-1 in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers 2021 season has been off to a tough start due to a challenging schedule. Indiana has lost to currently AP Top 25 No. 2 ranked Iowa 34-6, No. 3 Cincinnati 38-24, and No. 7 Penn State 24-0 this year. The Hoosiers wins have been 56-14 over Idaho and 33-31 against Western Kentucky.
"It's a great opportunity to come together to look adversity in the eye."— Indiana Football (@IndianaFootball) October 13, 2021
The Hoosiers were off last week and last took the field on the road against Penn State on October 2. Indiana is 1-4 against the spread on the season.
The Hoosiers were outgained 408 to 264 in total yardage against Penn State and lost the turnover battle 2 to 1. Indiana rushed for just 69 yards on 24 attempts in the loss at Penn State, and Michael Penix Jr and Jack Tutte combined to complete 16 of 34 passes for 195 yards and two interceptions.
This year, Penix Jr has struggled as the starting quarterback and is questionable for Saturday's game with a separated shoulder. This year, Penix Jr has completed 53.7% of his pass for 939 yards with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Tuttle, who could start against Indiana, has completed 8 of 1 8 passes for 168 yards with one touchdown and interception.Stephen Carrleads the team with 386 rushing yards, averaging 3.8 yards per carry.
The Indiana defense is ninth in the Big Ten, allowing 351.6 yards per game, ninth with 223 passing yards, and ninth with 128.6 rushing yards allowed.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Even though Michigan State is 6-0 and Indiana is 2-3, the Hoosiers have faced the 10th ranked strength of schedule, and the Spartans schedule is 60th according to the Football Power Index. I do see Michigan State as too explosive for Indiana in this match-up.
The Spartans offense ranks fourth in the nation averaging 7.4 yards per play, and Indiana is 116th, managing only 4.7 yards per play. The Hoosiers have faced tougher defenses, but with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. not 100% healthy, I still give a substantial advantage to Michigan State. Take the Spartans to win this game by a touchdown or more.
Full-Game Total Pick
I expect Michigan State to hit the 30s in scoring on Saturday. The Michigan State Spartans are averaging 36.7 points per game and have been very well balanced, averaging 219.2 rushing yards per game (22nd in the country) and 269.7 passing yards per game (38th). If you exclude their win over Idaho, Indiana is allowing 31.7 points per game.
On the other side, the Spartans are allowing 19.3 points per game, and the Hoosiers are scoring 23.8 ppg. Even though Indiana doesn't appear to be 100% at the quarterback position, I think they will turn to the air playing from behind and add some points late.
I will take the over with Michigan State winning 31-21.