Last Updated Nov 18, 2021, 4:00 AM

Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Predictions, Odds, Picks

Nov. 20, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Michigan State Spartans (9-1, 6-1) travel to meet the Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1, 7-0) in a Big Ten East Division showdown at Ohio Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for noon ET, and the game can be viewed on ABC.

Score Prediction

Ohio State 45, Michigan State 36

Best Bet

Michigan State +18.5 (-110)

Over 68.5 (-110)

Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Predictions

These two teams have aspirations for the College Football Playoffs, and a potential national championship run. But someone will have its dream dashed on the field at Ohio Stadium around 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Michigan State wasn't really expected to be here, yet here they are. RB Kenneth Walker III has been amazing this season, rolling up 1,483 rushing yards with 17 touchdowns, but they're definitely not a one-trick pony. QB Payton Thorne has been good for 2,460 passing yards with 21 touchdowns and just eight interceptions, while running for three scores. He won't be confused with a dual-threat quarterback, but he can pull it down if need be. This Michigan State team wasn't picked to do much by the experts in the preseason polls/rankings, but they're just one big win away from scooting into the Top 4 of the CFP rankings. If it could beat Ohio State on the road, and Penn State at home next week, you'd have to think Michigan State would be in line for its second-ever CFP appearance. Head coach Mel Tucker has done a tremendous job in East Lansing.

Ohio State fell to Oregon earlier in the season, and fans made it like the sky was falling. Remember that children's book called "Henny Penny"? The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Well, freshman QB C.J. Stroud righted the ship, the offense has posted 41, 59, 52, 66, 54, 33, 26 and 59 since that 35-28 loss to the Ducks, and suddenly all is right again in C-Bus. Can the Buckeyes keep it going? It's a good thing this showdown is on its home field, as Sparty has been strong at home.

Michigan State lost 40-29 at Purdue on Nov. 6 as a 2.5-point favorite, and that was with Walker going for 146 yards still. The Buckeyes don't have to completely shut him down to win this game, they just need to shut either he or Thorne down, and have the offense unbalanced. If the Spartans have to rely too heavily upon one certain area, they'll be in bad shape.

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Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Odds

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Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10
  • Date: Saturday, November 20, 2021
  • Venue: Ohio Stadium
  • Location: Columbus, Ohio
  • TV-Time: ABC - 12:00 p.m. ET

Michigan State Spartans Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 9-1
  • ATS: 7-1-2
  • O/U: 6-4
  • ATS - Home: 3-0-2
  • ATS - Away: 4-1

The last time the Spartans hit the road for Purdue two weeks ago, Michigan State suffered its only straight-up loss and non-cover. They'll need to win in Columbus in order to keep hope alive for a CFP spot. Sparty has done that fairly frequently, winning in Columbus as recently as Nov. 21, 2015, a 17-14 victory. They also topped the Buckeyes 10-7 on Oct. 1, 2011 in Columbus. Michigan State also spoiled the season of then-No. 1 Ohio State on Nov. 7, 1998, as CB Renaldo Hill intercepted QB Joe Germaine in the end zone to crush the Bucks. Michigan State has been a thorn in the side of Ohio State many times, and Buckeyes fans are wary.

For betting purposes, though, Ohio State is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings, although the road team is 9-4 ATS across the past 13 in this series. The favorite (Ohio State each time) has covered the past four, too. The UNDER is 5-0 in the past five meetings at Ohio Stadium, while going 5-1 in the past six meetings overall.

Michigan State has an impressive 7-1-2 ATS mark in 10 games overall, while going 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven conference games. The Spartans are also an impressive 4-1 ATS in the past five on the road, while going 3-1-1 ATS in the past five against winning teams, for which Ohio State certainly qualifies.

Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 9-1
  • ATS: 5-4-1
  • O/U: 6-4
  • ATS - Home: 3-3
  • ATS - Away: 2-1-1

Ohio State dusted Purdue last week by a 59-31 score, covering a 19-point number. After being shocked in West Lafayette by the Boilermakers a couple of seasons ago, and having seen Purdue upend both Iowa and Michigan State in the past month, the Buckeyes did well to get by the Boilermakers in rather comfortable fashion. The OVER easily hit, too, the first in three games for Ohio State.

The much-maligned defense of the Buckeyes is still a work in progress, actually, but Ohio State ranks 14th against the rush, allowing just 107.3 yards per game, while allowing 261.5 passing yards per contest. That might be Thorne, not Walker, is the biggest threat here.

Ohio State enters 5-2 ATS in the past seven as a favorite, but it's just 2-5 ATS in the past seven at home as a favorite against a team with a winning road record. The number in this one is a little on the high side for such a game of this magnitude. The OVER is also 8-3-1 in the past 12 league games for the Buckeyes, while going 8-2 in the past 10 in the month of November.

Inside the Stats - Michigan State Spartans

  • Record: 9-1
  • VI Ranking: 8
  • Points Scored: 346
  • Points Allowed: 225
  • PS/G: 34.6
  • PA/G: 22.5

Inside the Stats - Ohio State Buckeyes

  • Record: 9-1
  • VI Ranking: 5
  • Points Scored: 463
  • Points Allowed: 202
  • PS/G: 46.3
  • PA/G: 20.2

Key Players to Watch

  • MSU: Payton Thorne - QB (173/273, 2,460 yards, 21 TD, 8 INT)
  • MSU: Kenneth Walker III - RB (228 rushes, 1,483 yards, 17 TD)
  • OHST: C.J. Stroud - QB (214/311, 3,036 yards, 30 TD, 5 INT)
  • OHST: TreVeyon Henderson - RB (141 rushes, 1,035 yards, 14 TD)

Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Conclusion

We've been here before. Ohio State enters a home game with everything in front of them, and Michigan State comes into town. But generally that's when Sparty is playing for much lower stakes, and relishing the role of spoiler. In this one, this is a heavyweight fight with two teams playing for the highest possible stakes.

Looking at the number for this game, it's a tad on the high side. Michigan State will have the disrespect angle, at least in practice this week. Ohio State has a ridiculously productive offense, from Stroud to Henderson, as well as WRs Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Garrett Wilson. Offense for the Buckeyes is generally not a problem. The consternation for Buckeyes fans is on the defensive side of the football. Can they stop the rush? Can they throw Thorne off of his game? So far Ohio State's defense has been B- or C quality. To corral a guy like Walker, they need to be much better.

I think this game will be a high-scoring affair, and Michigan State should be able to keep it well within the 18-point spread. The best bet on the board is the OVER, as this one will likely have a total heading into the 80's before the dust settles.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Trends

  • Michigan State is 7-1-2 ATS in the past 10 games overall.
  • Michigan State is 4-1 ATS in the past five road games.
  • Ohio State is 5-2 ATS in the past seven games overall.
  • Ohio State is 2-5 ATS in the past seven games in November.
  • The OVER is 7-3 in the past 10 Big Ten games for Michigan State.
  • The OVER is 8-3-1 in the past 12 Big Ten games for Ohio State.
  • Michigan State is 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings.
  • The UNDER is 5-0 in the past five meetings in Columbus.

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