Oddsmakers likely to have MSU as big favorites over UM

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

While the Big Ten does not enjoy a very solid reputation in college football this season, there is little doubt that at least Las Vegas views Michigan State favorably.

While all the pundits continue to say it's a long shot for a Big Ten team to reach the College Football Playoff, the Spartans were listed this week as the favorite to win the national championship by VegasInsiders.com. Other sites had them near the top to at least reach the playoff.

And while the Spartans continue to try and impress the selection committee this week at Indiana, there is at least a little peek to next week when No. 8 Michigan State hosts Michigan, a team that better have a ticket if it wants to get close to the national playoffs.

While Michigan State has a shot and Michigan none, there is a chance the spread in next week's game could look similar to the 20-plus points the Spartans are favored to beat the Hoosiers by this week.

Most sports books won't post a line until the week of the game, but Michigan State as a heavy favorite is a pretty good guess.

"There is no doubt Michigan State will be double-digit favorites over Michigan," said Kevin Bradley, sports book manager at Bovada.com. "The last time such a spread between these two teams occurred was back in 2000 with a 16-point spread, but that was for the home team Michigan Wolverines."

Bradley pointed out that Michigan didn't cover in that game, winning 14-0. And considering Michigan does not play this week and the likelihood of a Michigan State loss is slim, there likely won't be any changes before the line comes out.

"Michigan has just been awful and the Spartans will be looking to send a message getting closer to the College Football Playoff," Bradley said. "I expect the majority of money to come in on them even at a high spread."

One more note — while Michigan State has won five of the last six meetings with Michigan, the Spartans 6-0 against the spread.