Future Michigan Legal Sportsbooks Have Spartans As Long Shot In 2020 College Football Futures

Written By Derek Helling on February 27, 2020

While the Spartans’ new head coach Mel Tucker tweaks the program to his liking, legal sportsbook operators are working to get ready for his first season in East Lansing. Futures on Michigan State football don’t predict a roaring success, however.

PointsBet and William Hill are among the brands that have already made market access deals in the Wolverine State. Those two books are similarly low on Sparty in 2020.

Michigan State football futures at PointsBet and William Hill

Although neither brand has announced when it will go live in Michigan, there are two certainties: they will eventually start accepting wagers in the state and will do so only in person for several months.

That’s because it’s likely to be sometime next year before Michigan authorizes online sportsbooks to start taking action. The state has yet to adopt rules for online wagering.

The lines on Michigan State winning the 2021 College Football Playoff at both of these books are quite long. If you’re optimistic about the Spartans’ chances next season, now may be the time to act.

SportsbookLine
PointsBet+30000
William Hill+15000

That’s the only action available at those two books on Sparty right now. As the season approaches, however, that is likely to change drastically.

Other books that may eventually come to the Wolverine State have lines on other wagers right now. That includes DraftKings, which currently pegs Michigan State at +3300 to win the Big Ten conference championship game next season.

Ohio State is the odds on favorite in that field at -230. The road to the next Big Ten title game, and anything thereafter, goes through the Buckeyes for the Spartans.

Ohio State stands in the way of Michigan State

Because Michigan State is in the same division as Ohio State, it’s imperative that the Spartans defeat the Buckeyes on Oct. 17. Fortunately for Sparty, the schedule has that game in East Lansing next season.

Michigan State also hosts in-state rival and division foe Michigan this year. While that looks like a favorable schedule, there are some tougher dates as well.

The Spartans have to travel to Iowa to begin Big Ten play and also face a road test against Penn State on Nov. 14. Winning all four of these contests will be a tall order, but that’s what Sparty may have to do in order to claim the East Division title and play for the conference championship.

That in and of itself is no guarantee for qualification for the four-team playoff, however. If Michigan State wins the conference but does so with a loss or two from the regular season, the committee may pass the Spartans over.

Part of that is beyond Michigan State’s control. All it can do is try to run the table in its schedule and hope for the best with the committee. Doing that will take some significant improvements from last season, however.

Michigan State needs to see an overall improvement

A lot of the Spartans’ struggles came in terms of putting points on the board last season. Only Northwestern and Rutgers averaged fewer points per game among Big Ten teams in the 2019-20 season than Sparty.

That was especially true of the running game. Michigan State’s 127.2 rushing yards per game were second-to-last in the conference.

While the defensive performance was better, it wasn’t sparkling either. Five Big Ten teams allowed fewer points on average last season than the Spartans.

Improving the production in the running game will undoubtedly be one of Tucker’s first priorities in East Lansing. Unless he’s able to do so drastically, however, it’s unlikely that Sparty will sniff a title game next season.

The lines at future Michigan legal sportsbooks reflect that right now. While those odds could move between now and when those books actually launch, that movement should be minimal.

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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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