Heading into the 2022 college football season, Michigan State isn’t going to catch anyone by surprise.
After Mel Tucker worked his magic for 11 wins in 2021, the Spartans aren’t in an underdog role any longer.
Michigan State 2022 season odds
Here’s what MSU is looking at for odds to win the National Championship, the Big Ten Conference and the Big Ten East in 2022.
In the race for the national title, oddsmakers see three teams as the clear contenders. Alabama is favored while Ohio State and Georgia are not far behind. Clearly MSU is considered quite a longshot.
With Ohio State getting a lot of love from oddsmakers, the Buckeyes find themselves as the clear favorite in the Big Ten and Big Ten East as well. The Spartans will have to fight their way past Ohio State to make good on any of their conference odds.
MSU football win total odds
The odds a lot of people will turn their attention to for MSU is the over/under for wins in 2022.
Currently, DraftKings Sportsbook MI is listing the Spartans with an over/under of 7.5 regular season wins.
The over carries odds of -130, while the under is listed at +110. That means oddsmakers find it more likely that Michigan State will get to 8 wins as opposed to 7.
Here’s the schedule Michigan State is facing in 2022 in attempt to get to eight wins.
- Sept. 2: vs. Western Michigan, 7 p.m.
- Sept. 10: vs. Akron, 4 p.m.
- Sept. 17: at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
- Sept. 24: vs. Minnesota, TBA
- Oct. 1: at Maryland, TBA
- Oct. 8: vs. Ohio State, TBA
- Oct. 15: vs. Wisconsin, TBA
- Oct. 29: at Michigan, TBA
- Nov. 5: at Illinois, TBA
- Nov. 12: vs. Rutgers, TBA
- Nov. 19: vs. Indiana, TBA
- Nov. 26: at Penn State, TBA
MSU gets an early challenge with a trip to Washington before beginning Big Ten play. Crossover games won’t be easy, but home games with Minnesota and Wisconsin help a little.
The big games obviously include Oct. 8 at home vs. Ohio State and the Oct. 29 trip to Michigan.
Spartans may need to rely on passing in 2022
Michigan State did what it did in 2021 thanks to the play of Kenneth Walker III.
The transfer running back rushed for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns in his lone season with the Spartans.
Now in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks, MSU has to find new alternatives offensively.
That could come from the passing attack. Junior quarterback Payton Thorne returns under center after throwing for 3,240 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2021.
Thorne has his top receiver, Jayden Reed, back for his senior year as well. Reed caught 59 passes for 1,026 yards and 10 scores last fall.
Both players are listed at +20000 by DraftKings to win the Heisman Trophy in the 2022 season.
Despite Walker’s success last year, the MSU offensive line was mediocre at best. This year’s unit returns experience, and mixes in a veteran transfer in Brian Greene, but still is somewhat unproven.
In terms of replacing Walker, Tucker went back to the portal to bring in Jalen Berger from Wisconsin and Jarek Broussard from Colorado. Tucker hopes those two can find some magic like Walker did.
Michigan State defense has to improve
Defense wasn’t a real strong point for Michigan State in 2021.
The Spartans ranked last in the Big Ten in total defense (455.6 ypg) and 11th in scoring defense (25.7 ppg).
MSU’s passing defense (337.7 ypg) was also last in the conference. Good news for the Spartans is it brings back some experience in the secondary that should have improved from 2021.
Ronald Williams, Marqui Lowery and Chuck Brantley are back at corner while Angelo Grose and leading tackler Xavier Henderson are back at safety. Ameer Speed is a Georgia transfer being added in to the secondary in hopes of improving on the team’s 10 interceptions in 2021.
Tucker also hit the portal to try and improve on MSU’s lacking pass rush from 2021. The Spartans had 43 sacks a year ago, but lost two of their sack leaders. Jeff Pietrowski is the lone returning with at least five sacks from 2021.
What to make of Michigan State football odds
On paper, it doesn’t appear that Michigan State is among the top contenders in the country.
While MSU was ranked No. 14 in the preseason Coaches Poll, there remain a lot of big questions.
Can the Michigan State offensive line step up? Will the Spartan passing game be explosive? How much can the Spartan defense improve?
It’s hard to see all these questions being answered in a positive way. However, Mel Tucker showed last year that he can manufacture a successful roster through the transfer portal. Can he do it again in 2022?
One thing Michigan State has going for it is positive momentum. Following an 11-win season, Tucker has been succeeding on the recruiting trail and building a brand at MSU. That swagger should carry over early into the season.
For MSU to get to eight wins, the key lies within the six challenging games of Washington, Minnesota, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State. The Spartans have to avoid a letdown in the other six while finding a way to take two of these six listed.
We’ve seen Tucker have Michigan’s number already and MSU gets Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio State at home. It definitely seems that reaching eight wins should be within reason, and MSU’s goals should go beyond that.