Michigan State at Indiana: Week 7 Predictions and Picks

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CFB Week 7
BetMGM Staff @BETMGM Oct 12, 2021, 1:04 PM

After one of the wildest weekends in college football history, the playoff race is wide open. More fireworks are in store this Saturday as surprise contender Michigan State travels to Bloomington to face the Hoosiers. Michigan State at Indiana will be this weekend’s most interesting Big Ten matchup, and in my opinion, a great betting opportunity.

Surprisingly, tenth-ranked MSU is only a 3.5-point favorite, according to college football odds experts. The likely reasoning is that home-field advantage is a big deal in NCAA football, and it’s still unclear to many whether Michigan State is for real. But I believe that Michigan State will cover the spread—big time.

Michigan State at Indiana

These two teams have been surprises, with the Spartans exceeding expectations and the Hoosiers not living up to them.

East Lansing has a different feel under Head Coach Mel Tucker this year, with Michigan State off to a hot 6-0 start. On the other side, Indiana was a pre-season top-20 team, expected to build off last season’s success, making their 2-3 record a big disappointment.

Indiana does come off a much-needed bye week after being battered by Penn State. But they will most likely be missing quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who is week-to-week after a separated shoulder that could need surgery. Indiana’s offense has struggled without him, and while Michigan State’s defense has given up a lot of yards, it’s proven difficult to score points against them.

The Numbers Behind Michigan State’s Impressive Start

After a tumultuous few years, I have been happy to see MSU back in the mix of college football’s best. This team is not like the Mark Dantonio squads of years past, who often won with suffocating defenses and offenses that did barely enough with underwhelming quarterback play. Instead, this year’s Spartans can score.

MSU brings the nation’s leading rusher in Kenneth Walker, a transfer from Wake Forest who is averaging 7.1 yards per carry. Quarterback Peyton Thorne has been excellent with 14 touchdown passes, and more importantly, only 2 picks.

Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson’s balanced offense is averaging nearly 487 yards and 37 points per game, both top-25 in the country. Outside of a gutsy overtime win against Nebraska in which the offense struggled, they’ve had massive big play ability with weapons at receiver in Jalen Nailor and Jayden Reed.

Indiana’s defense is average, allowing 28.2 points per game. They don’t defend the run or pass particularly well, and with MSU’s penchant for big plays, I don’t see that changing this week.

Even if the Hoosiers can manage to get some defensive stops, I have a hard time believing they can score enough to have a chance. Defensively, the Spartans allow just over 19 points per game, and Indiana’s offense only averages just 23.8. Michigan State has a +3 turnover ratio, while Indiana is at -3.

The Takeaway

Indiana is missing their starting quarterback, was struggling to score even when he was there, and is turning the ball over too much. They’re facing a team that is hot, can score a lot, doesn’t turn the ball over much, and doesn’t give up many points. Nothing bodes well for the Hoosiers in this matchup.

ESPN’s FPI, one of my favorite metrics, gives Michigan State a 66.7% chance to win, despite the game being at Indiana. Considering that it’s a noon start time and that the Hoosiers are a downtrodden team, I don’t think the home crowd will be much of a factor. My money is on Michigan State to cover the spread.

The point total of 52 is a little trickier, and I’m less confident in this bet, but I’m taking the under. MSU’s offense is surging, but I don’t think Indiana can score enough to get the total that high.

Do you believe that Michigan State will have a big game against Indiana, or do you believe that the Hoosiers can pull off the upset? Sign up for an account at BetMGM’s Michigan sports betting or Indiana sports betting site today to place your bets on Michigan State at Indiana and all of this weekend’s college football action.

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Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.

Our BetMGM authors are sports experts, with a wealth of knowledge of the sports betting industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news across players, teams and coaches, providing betting previews and predictions, fun facts and more.