Bettors Stake Different Sides Of Spartans, Wolverines Win Totals In 2021 NCAA Football Season

Written By Derek Helling on July 30, 2021 - Last Updated on August 6, 2021

BetMGM Sportsbook bettors seem to have found a couple of NCAA football numbers they like this fall, and both involve Michigan college football futures.

The thing is, bettors are displaying confidence in the Michigan State Spartans and a lack of the same in the Michigan Wolverines.

In terms of win totals, some of the most drastic wagering splits are on Michigan and Michigan State. As a result, BetMGM has already moved that line on one of those two Big Ten contenders.

Michigan college football futures hot at BetMGM

Among bets on 2021 Spartans win totals at BetMGM, people are taking the over at a high rate. Bettors should note that this breakdown includes wagers from all BetMGM markets.

A whopping 87.8% of wagers on this futures market are picking Michigan State to win at least six games in the 2021 season.

Only a handful of splits are more lopsided toward the over in this regard. That includes 88.9% taking the over on Kansas at 1.5 wins and 88.2% of bets on the over for Kentucky at 7.

One of the other most lopsided win total splits is with the Wolverines. But in that case, the heavy action is on the under. A full two-thirds of bets are on Michigan to win seven games or fewer.

Another point of disparity between the Wolverines and the Spartans is how the handle compares. For Michigan State, the money is a bit more even, with 78.2% of the handle on the over. In terms of the money on Michigan, though, the bettors taking the under have put down larger wagers, as 74.6% of the handle backs the under.

Of course, these breakdowns are just as much about the lines as they are the teams’ schedules. If BetMGM was laying either 7 or 8 on the Wolverines, for example, you’d probably see a different landscape.

This breakdown at BetMGM is just how bettors have acted since the book moved the line on the Spartans to 5. When that book first set its win totals, it had Michigan State at 4.5 wins.

Where on the schedules are bettors finding six wins for the Spartans and five losses for the Wolverines? That’s all completely subjective. But there are some likely candidates for swing games.

Which games might decide whether BetMGM cleans up

The first two Saturdays in October could decide whether bettors will be smiling. Michigan State’s path to six wins could hinge on the results of those contests.

  • Oct. 2 vs. Western Kentucky: The Hilltoppers had one of the nation’s best defenses last season but struggled offensively. Enter a new offensive coordinator and the quarterback he coached to average more than 458 yards and three touchdowns per game last year. This could be the biggest nonconference threat to Michigan State.
  • Oct. 9 at Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights might not get the same benefit of seven Spartan turnovers in this year’s meeting as they did in their victory over Michigan State in 2020. Rutgers is returning a talented cast on offense from last year with a season of confidence in Greg Schiano’s system, though.

For Michigan, a potential fifth loss seems all about Big Ten games. After a conference home opener against Rutgers, here’s one important cross-divisional stretch:

  • Oct. 2 at Wisconsin: The Badgers have the benefit of several upperclassmen returning to Madison, including receiver Danny Davis III. Michigan’s path to a win here might be Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz‘s turnover-prone reputation.
  • Oct. 9 at Nebraska: Running back Luke McCaffrey and receiver Wan’Dale Robinson transferred. However, the Nebraska defense is experienced and more than capable of keeping this close.

More than with most other teams, BetMGM is either going to clean up or take a bath on Michigan and Michigan State’s fates.

Photo by Michael Conroy and Doug McSchooler, AP Photos
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago, IL. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law. Recently, he has written about the expanded gambling industry in Michigan, including online sports betting, online casinos, and the cornerstone land-based casino market.

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