After Thriving In Opener, Michigan State Football A 3-Score Favorite Vs. FCS Foe

Written By Drew Ellis on September 7, 2021

With a lot of wonder surrounding Michigan State football entering 2021, things started well. It would be hard to imagine any fans feeling less optimistic following a 38-21 Spartans win at Northwestern last Friday.

Now, with MSU riding a bit of a high, will the Spartans be too quick to overlook Youngstown State in their home opener?

Here’s what Michigan State has on its plate for Saturday afternoon. And follow the latest Michigan State betting trends here.

How to watch: Michigan State Spartans vs. Youngstown State Penguins

  • What: Youngstown State (1-0) at Michigan State (1-0)
  • When: Noon ET, Saturday
  • Where: Spartan Stadium in East Lansing
  • TV: Big Ten Network (Announcers: Lisa Byington, Anthony Herron, Coley Harvey)
  • Online livestream: BTN+
  • Radio: Michigan State Football Radio Network
  • Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel 83

Limited odds have MSU favored

When FCS teams are facing FBS opponents, odds tend to be difficult to find. Such is the case for Michigan State football for this game with Youngstown State.

DraftKings Sportsbook was listing MSU as a 19.5-point favorite at home on Saturday. FanDuel Sportsbook had the Spartans as a 20.5-point favorite as of Tuesday afternoon.

On the moneyline, DraftKings has the best offer with the Spartans at -1250. Youngstown’s best line is +820 at FanDuel.

The over/under total was not yet available with either book as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Our odds tracker below has the best up-to-date odds for the game, including if point totals are added or if other books bring more favorable lines live.

Michigan State vs. Youngstown State Odds: NCAA Football Week 2

These two teams have met twice in history, both lopsided wins for the Spartans. MSU won 28-6 at home in 2011, and won 55-17 at home in 2013.

Michigan State football impresses in road win

Not many knew what to expect from Michigan State football last Friday, given the large amount of roster turnover.

What resulted was an impressive season opener.

Transfer running back Kenneth Walker III set the tone from the first play, busting a 75-yard touchdown run. Walker finished with 264 yards on the ground with four touchdowns, earning Big Ten Player of the Week honors. He sparked the Spartans to 511 total yards of offense and 326 team rushing yards.

Under center, Mel Tucker picked Payton Thorne to be his starter and stuck with him throughout the game. Thorne was 15 of 25 passing for 185 yards with one touchdown and no turnovers. Although not groundbreaking, Thorne didn’t have to be great.

Defensively, Michigan State held Northwestern to 392 total yards, many of which came when the game was somewhat out of hand. The Spartans led 28-7 through three quarters.

Michigan State created a turnover and had four sacks and seven tackles for loss in the win. Xavier Henderson was impressive, racking up nine tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.

Are MSU’s expectations rising?

Earlier this summer, said Friday’s opener was one of the key games for Michigan State this season to hit the over on its win total by reaching 6 victories.

With MSU winning, and doing so impressively, expectations have to be raised for MSU fans.

The preseason over/under of just 5 wins for the season certainly looks like it’s leaning toward the over now.

Following the opening week of action, MSU’s odds to win the Big Ten Conference jumped from +7500 to +6000.

In Tuesday’s AP Top 25 rankings, MSU received 28 votes, which has them landing 35th nationally. That’s just three spots behind Michigan (52 votes).

Walker’s breakout game has raised his stock as well. BetMGM Sportsbook lists him at +8000 to win the Heisman Trophy this season.

Penguins look to play spoiler

Youngstown State will be hoping to catch MSU looking past them this weekend, with Miami (Fla.) on the horizon for the Spartans.

The Penguins opened the season with a 44-41 overtime win over Incarnate Word last week.

Like MSU, the Penguins were strong on the ground, rushing for 351 total yards. Jaleel McLaughlin rushed for 242 yards and two scores to lead the offense. Quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw rushed for 81 yards and two scores, while throwing for 112 yards and a TD.

A concern for Youngstown State is its defense, which gave up nearly 500 yards this past weekend. That effort included 352 passing yards.

Photo by Nam Y. Huh/AP
Drew Ellis Avatar
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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