College football game of the week preview and best bets: Michigan State Spartans vs Ohio State Buckeyes

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III makes a catch against Michigan. Syndication Detroit Free Press
Photo of Ricky Dimon

Ricky Dimon

NCAAF· 2 weeks ago

Show Bio

Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The Big Ten should be a whole lot of fun throughout the remainder of the regular season. Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State are all in the top 8 of the rankings with visions of College Football Playoff berths. Ohio State ends with Michigan State and Michigan on the schedule. Michigan has a road date with Maryland before facing the Buckeyes. Michigan State follows up this week’s showdown against OSU by hosting Penn State.

All three of these Big Ten juggernauts are 9-1 and cannot afford another loss. Who will stay alive in the National Championship discussion when the Buckeyes host the Spartans on Saturday? Let’s take a look.

Breaking down the Spartans

Michigan State’s first blemish of the season came in a recent letdown spot. After posting a comeback win over rival Michigan, the Spartans lost at Purdue 40-29 one week later. They rebounded with a 40-21 defeat of Maryland last week, improving to 6-1 in the Big Ten. That record has them tied with UM for second place in the East Division, one game back of Ohio State. That’s right; all three powerhouses are on the same side of the conference—making Saturday’s contest all the more important.

Kenneth Walker III is obviously the straw that stirs the drink that is Michigan State. The junior running back has racked up 1,473 rushing yards on a 6.5 ypc average to go along with 17 touchdowns. He has churned out at least 156 yards from scrimmage in each of the past three games and has scored a whopping 8 TDs during this stretch. But don’t overlook Sparty’s defense. This team has held 7 of its 10 opponents to 21 points or fewer.

Check out our reaction to what happened in college football during Week 11

Breaking down the Buckeyes

Undefeated in the Big Ten, Ohio State has responded impressively to a 35-28 loss at Oregon’s hands back on Sept. 11. Although the Buckeyes beat Penn State and Nebraska by single-digits, for the most part they have been crushing opponents. Recent scores included a 52-13 beatdown of Rutgers, a 66-17 victory over Maryland, a 54-7 humiliation of Indiana, and most recently a 59-31 win at Purdue’s expense.

Only two players are ahead of Walker III on the list of Heisman Trophy favorites and one is Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud. The star freshman has passed for 3,036 yards with 30 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has 22 TDs and 2 INTs over the last six outings. Stroud is a +220 Heisman second choice behind Alabama QB Bryce Young, while Walker III is +280. The Buckeyes lead the nation in total offense (550.0 ypg) and scoring (46.3 ppg).

Check out our college football futures report heading into Week 12

Predictions and best bets

It’s not often that the marquee matchup on a weekly football schedule also has one of the largest spreads. But that is the case with No. 5 Ohio State vs No 8 Michigan State. It is true that Georgia may possess the only defense that can contain the Buckeyes, but 19.5 points are lot. Michigan State’s defense only has to decent in order to cover, and the Spartans’ effort to reduce their opponent’s point total will be aided by a steady dose of Walker III on offense. If Walker III can deliver his standard output and control the clock, MSU can cover. An Under 67 play probably correlates nicely with the underdogs, so I will also go in that direction.

At Pickswise we offer free expert College Football Picks and College Football Predictions for all games in the Power Five conferences and the top 25 teams outside of Power five, including our College Football Parlay picks each week.

See All
FanDuel Sportsbook

$50

Get $50 Free - No Deposit Required!

Register for a FanDuel Sportsbook account

Receive $50 in site credits to use on Sportsbook

No Deposit Required!

Winnings paid as CASH. 21+ and new players only. Full terms available at FanDuel Sportsbook.

DraftKings

$100

Win $100 if any team scores a point in any NFL, NBA, CFB, or CBB game!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $1+ any NFL, NBA, CFB, or CBB game Money Line

If your team wins, you will be issued a $100 free bet bonus!

Must be 21+ located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WY or WV to play. Offer valid only for new customers. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $20+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+

Bet $20 on your team to win Money Line (NFL or NCAAF)

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

Caesars Sportsbook

$1,001

Get a $1,001 Free Bet!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,001

Win or lose, you'll receive a free bet matching your initial stake - up to $1,001!

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$400

Get a $400 Risk-Free Bet on the Breeders' Cup!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code PICKS400

Place a bet on the Breeders' Cup

Receive a refund if your first bet loses up to $400

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.