Ohio State is scrambling to stay in the college football playoff picture, and the No. 10 Buckeyes (8-1) have a tough task on the road at No. 18 Michigan State (6-3) in Week 11 Big Ten betting action. This is a well-known, blood feud with the Buckeyes going 6-4 SU and 5-5 ATS in the last 10 meetings with the rival Spartans. The visitor is getting the points, but which team escapes Spartan Stadium with the win?
Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1) at Michigan State Spartans (6-3)
Saturday, November 10th – Spartan Stadium – 12:00pm ET (FOX)
Week 11 Big Ten Betting Line: Ohio State -3.5 Total 52
This head-to-head has been very close in recent matches outside of last year’s debacle for the Spartans so this matchup sets up as a redemption song for Michigan State. The Spartans were buried by the Buckeye’s in Columbus last season 48-3. The Spartans are 4-2 SU in the Big Ten East and both losses came at home to Michigan and Northwestern. The 29-19 loss to Northwestern is noteworthy in this matchup analysis, as MSU shut down the Wildcats rushing attack allowing just 8 yards on 20 carriers. But senior QB Clayton Thorson of Northwestern, who has 11 TD passes and 10 INTs, completed 31 of 47 passes for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Spartans. Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins has passed for 3,053 yards with 70% completions. Oh, and he has 32 touchdown passes and just 6 interceptions. In other words, the Spartans are running to a comparative buzzsaw.
Michigan State leads the country in run defense allowing just 71.7 yard per game, but that won’t be Ohio State’s preferred mode of attack. The Buckeyes run the ball for 178.3 yards per game, but have the No. 3 pass attack in the country averaging 369.1 passing yards per game on 41 attempts per contest – also top-10 in the country. Michigan State allows 253.4 passing yards per game, and now faces an explosive scoring offense from Ohio State which is a major reason why the Week 11 Big Ten betting line opened in favor of Urban Meyer’s crew.
The Buckeyes’ defense is not top-notch this season and allows 243.9 passing yards per game. Over their last five contests Ohio State has allowed an average of 456.6 yards per game. But Michigan State does not appear to be in position to take advantage, as Spartans QB Brian Lewerke has passed for just 1,740 with an 8/8 TD-to-INT ratio and completes just 55% of his passes. It’s unlikely that Lewerke has it in him to pace with the pace Ohio State has established offensively.
Ohio State hits the road for just the second time since Oct. 1. The Buckeyes were buried at Purdue for their only loss of the season Oct. 20, and Ohio State is 0-3 ATS away from Columbus this season. Still, Michigan was a 7.5-point favorite on this field Oct. 20 and physically dominated Michigan State in a 21-7 win with a 395-94 yards advantage. Ohio State looks vulnerable, but the Buckeyes should rise up on the road with favorable matchups in the passing game this week.
Week 11 Big Ten Betting Free Pick – Ohio State -3.5
Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.