Michigan State Spartans Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
The year 2016 was a horrible season for the Spartans. A dismal 3-9 record. Multiple players embroiled in sexual assault issues. Endless drama around the administration of the athletic department. It was an absolute disaster of a year by any measure, and since it came after a 12-2 year it was particularly hard for fans to take. But last year the team did a pretty remarkable job of putting that dismal season in the past and moving on. They won nine regular-season games, including a couple of big ones. Then they absolutely destroyed Washington State in their bowl game. It wasn't quite back to the level of 2015, but it was a better season than many saw coming. So, can they carry that momentum forward this year? Or will they go back to disappointing this year?
2017 in a Nutshell
They beat Bowling Green and Western Michigan out of the gate and then lost by 20 at home to a Notre Dame team that was playing well early in the season. They then matched their win total from the previous year by beating Iowa, and after that exceeded it by beating Michigan yet again - in Ann Arbor, no less. Wins at Minnesota and against Indiana meant that they were bowl eligible before Halloween. They lost at Northwestern next, but that came in triple overtime, so it was hardly reason to panic. And they bounced back strong from that setback by beating Penn State at home - their second win over a Top 7 team on the season after Michigan. Momentum was lost somewhat when they were crushed by Ohio State by 45 points, but again they didn't let it bother them as they beat Maryland and crushed Rutgers in New Jersey to finish off the season. And then they won their bowl game handily.
Key Additions and Departures
The losses through the draft were minimal this year - offensive lineman Brian Allen, who went to the Rams in the fourth round, was the only player selected. So, while they lost players as is inevitable in college football, they aren't saying goodbye to a whole lot of quality.
There was a change in the coaching staff that was quite surprising. Harlon Barnett had worked under Mark Dantonio for 14 years, so it was noteworthy that he choose to take over the offensive coordinator job at Florida State after sharing the role with Mike Tressel at Michigan State. Tressel is now the sole coordinator. Another interesting hire was Paul Haynes, who will be coaching defensive backs. He has been the head coach at Kent State the last five years.
The recruiting class was not particularly strong this year, with only three players that had stars listed at least one recruiting site. They aren't likely to get a lot of immediate impact on this front. Luckily, they don't really need it.
Biggest Area of Concern
Brian Lewerke was a very solid quarterback, but outside of running back there is a shortage of strong talent to support him, and his offense ranked barely within the Top 100 nationally. They need to find ways to score more points, and they need players to step up in a big way if they want to come out on top in a stunningly-tough conference.
Michigan State Spartans Schedule Analysis
There are nine games that should be wins on the schedule. In order, they are Utah State, at Arizona State, at Indiana, Central Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue, at Maryland, at Nebraska, and Rutgers. A loss in any of those spots would be very disappointing for the program. As is almost always the case in the Big Ten, though, it will be the other three games that will define the fate of this team. Their sixth game is at Penn State. The next week they host their hated rivals from Michigan. And three games later they host Ohio State. Having two of those three games at home is a big advantage. And so is not having to play any of those teams until they have had a chance to get warmed up. But at least two of those teams are better than the Spartans on paper, so nothing will come easily.
2018-19 Michigan State Spartans Betting Odds and Trends
Michigan State is at +3300 to win the national title, which has them tied with Florida State and Miami and behind 11 other teams. They are a contender, but not a major one. Lewerke is similarly an outside Heisman contender at the same +3300 price. The team is the fifth choice to win the Big Ten at +1000, behind the three big rivals they play and Wisconsin. The season win total sits at nine, with the "under" a slight favorite.
2018-19 Michigan State Spartans Predictions and College Football Picks
The team is returning a lot of players and has a quarterback who is solid and a defense that is deep. They have the pieces. I have less issues than the bettors when it comes to finding nine wins for the team. But I struggle to see them winning against the better teams with any regularity, either. Ten games feels like the ceiling for the team, and I'm not totally confident that they will get there. They are a good team in a very tough division.
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