Michigan vs Michigan State Picks and Predictions: UM's Defensive Edge Will Be The Difference

We have a marquee matchup in the Big Ten this week, as the rivalry between Michigan and Michigan State is renewed. The Wolverines are the slight college football betting favorite in this one — find out why we think bookmakers got that right.

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2021 6:04 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Blake Corum Michigan Wolverines college football
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Nobody expected the annual meeting between the Michigan Wolverines and Michigan State Spartans to feature two undefeated teams when the season began, but here we are.

A win will push one of these teams toward a Big Ten Championship and possibly a seat at the CFP table. College football betting lines have the Wolverines as slight road favorites for this matchup, but they've only covered in two of the last 13 meetings.

Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Michigan vs. Michigan State on Saturday, October 30.

Michigan vs Michigan State odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Michigan opened as a 3.5-point favorite, with sharps backing UM, ticking the spread a half-point up to -4. Meanwhile, the total sits at 51, but shop around — at the time of writing, totals can be found anywhere from 49.5 to 51, depending on the book. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full college football odds before placing your bets.

Michigan vs Michigan State picks

Picks made on 10/27/2021 at 5:57 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Michigan vs Michigan State game info

Location: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Date: Saturday, October 30, 2021
Time: 12:00 p.m. ET

Michigan vs Michigan State betting preview


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.

Key injuries

Michigan: Trevor Keegan OL (Questionable), Taylor Upshaw DL (Questionable).
Michigan State: Adam Berghorst TE (Questionable), Itayvion Brown LB (Questionable), Jack Camper DE (Questionable), Elijah Collins RB (Out), Trenton Gillison TE (Questionable).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Spartans are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as underdogs of 3.5-10. Find more NCAA betting trends for Michigan vs. Michigan State.

Michigan vs Michigan State predictions

Statistically, these clubs match up fairly evenly: Michigan is averaging 37.7 points per game while allowing just 14.3 ppg, while Michigan State averages 34.3 ppg and allows 18.7 points against per contest.

Both offenses are extremely talented with plenty of speed and great running backs. They each earn over 200 yards rushing per game, while both toting reliable quarterbacks that have done exactly what has been asked of them.

Neither player will win the Heisman, nor is either putting up ridiculous numbers, but Michigan’s Cade McNamara and Michigan State’s Payton Thorne manage the game well and continue to make plays when called upon.

Offensively, the edge goes to MSU. The offensive line looks has outperformed Michigan this year, despite Michigan earning 253.3 yards per game on the ground.

However, Michigan has the edge defensively with an elite rushing defense that has allowed just 116.6 yards per game. The coverage and pass rush has also done well for the Wolverines, as they’ve allowed the opposition to average just 182.4 yards passing per game. If there’s one thing that Michigan State needs to do better on the defensive end, it’s tackling. And it’s going to be hard to tackle someone like UM running back Blake Corum, who has 729 yards rushing on 116 attempts with 10 touchdowns.

Michigan will also do better flipping fields in special teams, having been terrific in that area while Michigan State has struggled. Therefore, we like Michigan to come out on top.

We’ve raved about both of these offenses, and deservedly so. However, both defenses have been elite this season. Michigan is allowing fewer than 300 yards per game while MSU is allowing 406.4 yards per game.

The Spartans will allow a big play here and there due to poor tackling, but big plays might not be as prevalent as both teams will prefer to run the ball, which will shave off clock — especially if both defenses can force third downs like we think they will.

With both defenses allowing less than three touchdowns per game, the Under is intriguing in this spot. Neither team wants to be the team to make a mistake — long drives are always the solution.

College football parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Michigan vs. Michigan State picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

Use our college football parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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