The entire state of Michigan is in a frenzy as Big Ten rivals Michigan State and Michigan square off on Saturday for Week 9 action.
College football betting will be busy with Michigan at Michigan State. Both teams come into the rivalry game at 7-0 on the season and 4-0 in the Big Ten. They also are the only teams left in the Big Ten who remain undefeated.
With Michigan ranked at number six and Michigan State at number eight in the AP polls, the football world will be watching this big game. Read on to learn what to expect in this match-up.
Long-Standing Michigan-Michigan State Rivalry
Every year when these two programs meet, it’s a big game, but its significance is more relevant considering how the two teams have performed this year.
This year is the first time the teams have faced off with 7-0 records. The last time they played each other, and both were in the top 10, was 1964. 2010 was the last time they met as unbeaten teams, and the Spartans won. Both teams seem to be performing beyond expectations of them in the preseason.
This rivalry started back in 1898. However, Michigan has shown a slight edge with eleven wins over Michigan State’s ten victories in this century.
Michigan vs. Michigan State is an emotional match-up where the unexpected has been known to happen.
Wolverines Hope to Keep Momentum Going on the Road
The Wolverines had a solid 33-7 win in Week 8 against a weaker Northwestern team. Michigan State also beat up on Northwestern in their season opener, 38-21.
Usually, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh likes to give his team time to enjoy a victory, but not this week. Instead, he believes the key to winning in East Lansing is massive preparation and starting the game strong.
Harbaugh acknowledges that in Mel Tucker’s short tenure at Michigan State, he’s developed a very well-rounded team. They are good offensively, defensively, and on special teams.
The Michigan defense will need to be prepared for quarterback Payton Thorne and his lineup of offensive weapons, including standout running back and Heisman hopeful Kenneth Walker III.
On offense, Michigan will need to keep their running game going, yet its possible quarterback Cade McNamara will need to get the ball in the air to score against the strong Spartan defense.
Spartans Ready to Defend at Home
Few will forget last year’s match-up when Mel Tucker, barely settled into his head coaching position, went to Ann Arbor and had his Spartan team running up and down the field against what was supposed to be a tough Michigan defense.
A lot has changed since that last match-up. First, Michigan has a new fleet of coaches. In addition, Michigan State has a slew of transfers into the program. So, what weapons do the Spartans have against the slightly favored Michigan team?
They have an offense that has surprised nearly everyone from the start of the season. However, it seems Thorne is settling in and has plenty of weapons at his disposal.
But Michigan has won the last two times they’ve rolled into Spartan Stadium, and they have more to prove. Sure, they’re 7-0, but they have yet to produce a statement win.
Tucker has spent all week preaching his mantra of tough, consistent play while keeping his team focused on the football without the emotions.
Michigan at Michigan State
Every Wolverine and Spartan knows the significance of the Paul Bunyan Trophy and the importance of leaving Saturday undefeated. Both head coaches know this is an emotional match-up.
So, what should bettors expect with Michigan at Michigan State? It’s sure to be a tough, fierce match-up. Michigan is a slight favorite, but most say this one will be close, maybe even too close to call. Ultimately, this game could come down to the time of possession. If Kenneth Walker III can keep the Spartans in 3rd and short situations, I believe Michigan State will get upset.
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