Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#109 Michigan State vs.
#110 Miami - FL
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 12:00pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

Michigan State will be looking to build on its 2-0 start when it travels to No. 24 Miami on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans have picked up wins over Northwestern and Youngstown State in their first two games of the season. Miami was blown out by top-ranked Alabama on Labor Day weekend, but it bounced back with a win over Appalachian State.

Walker III leads Spartans rushing attack

Michigan State is off to a solid start this season. It opened the year with a 38-21 win at Northwestern and then added a 42-14 win against Youngstown State. The Spartans have scored on the first play from scrimmage in both games. Kenneth Walker III took the ball 75 yards for a touchdown against Northwestern and Jayden Reed caught a 75-yard touchdown pass against Youngstown State. Michigan State’s rushing attack has been fantastic early in the year. It is averaging 8.0 yards per carry, led by Walker III. He has carried the ball 30 times for 321 yards and five touchdowns.

Sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne, who has taken over for former starter Rocky Lombardi, has completed 65.2% of his attempts for 465 yards and five touchdowns. He has done an excellent job of taking care of the ball, as he has not thrown an interception yet this year. Reed leads the wide receiver corps with nine receptions for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan State’s offensive line has been rock-solid, opening up holes for the running backs and keeping Thorne on his feet. Their offense ranks tenth in the FBS with 553.0 yards per game. They are averaging nearly 300 rushing yards per contest.

Hurricanes dealing with injuries, suspension

No. 24 Miami has not lived up to preseason expectations through its first two games. The Hurricanes were blown out by top-ranked Alabama in their season-opener. They bounced back with a 25-23 win over Appalachian State last weekend, but it was anything but a comprehensive effort. Miami was forced to kick a go-ahead field goal with 2:04 remaining in the game, as it rallied from a halftime deficit to grab the win. The Hurricanes have a ton of experience, which played an important role in their win over Appalachian State. They are led by quarterback D’Eriq King, who is three games shy of 50 in his collegiate career.

King threw for 200 yards and rushed for another 67 in last week’s win. Veteran running back Cam’Ron Harris rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown. Don Chaney Jr. also scored a touchdown, but he was forced to leave the game with an injury. He was ruled out for the season on Monday due to the right knee issue. Backup Jaylan Knighton has two games of a suspension left to serve, so the Hurricanes are thin at running back. They are only averaging 3.5 yards per carry this season. Starting linebacker Keontra Smith also suffered an injury against Appalachian State and will miss a few weeks.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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I like how Michigan State is set up for this game, especially when compared to Miami. The Hurricanes had to open the season against Alabama, which can often lead to a lingering effect over the next few weeks. They had to put a ton of effort into last week’s win over Appalachian State and have not shown me that they are ready to win a game with margin. Michigan State is off to a great start and has not had to exert a ton of energy over the last few weeks. It is going to control the tempo with its rushing attack, which will give the Spartans an excellent shot at the outright win.

Prediction: Michigan State +6

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rating:

Michigan State has been winning games with its rushing attack. The Spartans are not going to average 8.0 yards per carry in this game, but they will stick to their guns. They love to control the clock and turn long possessions into points. Miami’s front seven will be their toughest test of the year. The Hurricanes rely on their defense to win games. King is a veteran quarterback, but he is not one of the best passing signal-callers. Miami’s defense is going to keep this game close and Michigan State will control the tempo, which is going to lead to a low-scoring game.

Prediction: Under 57
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Blake is also an avid sports being expert and you would not be disappointed in following him on a daily basis. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.