Betting Public Likes Michigan State vs. Michigan, But Rivalry Line Moves Toward Wolverines

Written By Drew Ellis on October 27, 2021 - Last Updated on October 26, 2023
Michigan State Michigan Coaches October 27 2021

The biggest Michigan vs. Michigan State football game in recent memory is now just a day away.

With both teams unbeaten and ranked in the top 10, the wagers in the Michigan sports betting scene are rolling in quickly for this anticipated matchup.

Does the public like the home underdog in No. 8 Michigan State, or the road favorite in sixth-ranked Michigan?

Michigan at Michigan State: Live NCAA Odds For Rivalry Game

Public backing Michigan State as spread still grows

Not surprisingly, sportsbooks have been seeing a lot of action in this matchup, especially in the state of Michigan.

BetMGM Sportsbook released its data on the game thus far on Wednesday, and the money was strongly on MSU as the underdog, as well as the under in the points total category.

“Michigan vs. Michigan State is already dominating college football betting,” Jason Scott, BetMGM vice president of trading, said in an email. “This matchup of two top-10 teams is the most bet game of the week at BetMGM. We’re seeing strong interest from Michigan bettors in this rivalry game, with (the) majority of tickets and handle on Michigan State.”

Michigan opened as a 3.5-point favorite, but that number had now climbed to 4.5 points (best live odds are shown above). Despite that switch, BetMGM has 70% of its tickets on MSU and 77% of the handle on the Spartans.

On the moneyline, Michigan has climbed up to -200 but is getting just 17% of the tickets on the money line and 19% of the handle.

The over/under total opened at 51 points, but later dropped down to a near-consensus 50.5 on Wednesday afternoon. At that time, 82% of the tickets and a whopping 89% of the handle were on the under.

At Caesars Sportsbook, 55% of spread betting dollars nationally were on Michigan State as of Thursday night. As far as in-state wagers, it was even heavier, as 94% of dollars wagered were with the Spartans.

DraftKings Sportsbook reported this week that 62% of spread handle bets were on Michigan State, along with 80% of the moneyline handle.

Caesars Sportsbook: Betting handle expected to be huge for rivalry game

With this being the state’s biggest college football game of the season for the first year of online sports betting, handle for Saturday’s contest is expected to be huge, according to Caesars.

“Handle in Michigan for this game will be huge, especially as the other team in Michigan — the Detroit Lions — haven’t won a game. So, the local focus on this game is massive,” said Craig Mucklow, Caesars Sportsbook VP of trading, said in a release. “This game will quite possibly be our biggest game on Saturday in handle all round.”

BetMGM: $100,000 bet comes in on Michigan -5 alternate line

BetMGM on Friday reported a huge bet for the Wolverines.

The sportsbook said a bettor took +105 odds by moving the line from Michigan -4 to the alternate line of -5 and wagered $100,000 on the Wolverines.

If Michigan covers, the bet will pay off with $105,000 in winnings.

Pressure on Jim Harbaugh, Michigan

Although MSU has the home crowd, most agree that Michigan is the team that needs the win on Saturday.

Jim Harbaugh is in his seventh season at Michigan and doesn’t have a Big Ten Conference (or even a Big Ten East) title to show for himself and the program.

Along with being winless against Ohio State, Harbaugh is just 3-3 against Michigan State. That mark includes last year’s embarrassing 27-24 loss at home.

With the Buckeyes already sporting a defeat, some may see them as riper for the picking. U-M needs a win this weekend to continue to control its destiny toward a conference title.

Oddsmakers at DraftKings see the Wolverines at +550 to win the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s -235 status.

At Caesars, Michigan began the season at +2500 (25/1) to win the Big Ten title but has advanced to +550, second only to Ohio State, the overwhelming favorite at -240. Michigan State was +10000 (100/1) to win the conference title entering the year but is now +2000 (20/1).

In the national championship race, DK has Michigan listed at +3500, which is sixth in the odds race nationally.

Mel Tucker can cement his Michigan State status

Although MSU coach Mel Tucker may not have as much pressure to win on Saturday, a victory over the Wolverines can really cement his standing as one of the top coaches nationally.

Over the bye week, Tucker has already had to deal with rumors as the next potential coach at LSU.

Coming into 2021, MSU’s over/under for wins was set at 4.5. Now, the Spartans find themselves at 7-0 with a top-10 ranking.

A 2-0 start against rival Michigan, and an 8-0 start to 2021, would certainly have Tucker well ahead in creating a legendary status in East Lansing.

FanDuel Sportsbook has Tucker and the Spartans at +3000 to win the Big Ten right now, which actually sits fifth in the conference. It’s a far cry from U-M’s +500 odds at FanDuel.

When it comes to the national championship, FD lists MSU at +12000. Only 12 teams, Michigan being one, have better odds than the Spartans.

Heisman Trophy showcase game for a handful

Saturday’s nationally televised game is a big opportunity for a handful of Spartans and Wolverines to add to their Heisman Trophy campaign.

According to DraftKings, five players from this game are still in the running and listed with odds to win the 2021 honor.

Leading the way is MSU running back Kenneth Walker III (+2200). Walker is second nationally in rushing with 997 yards and has nine touchdowns on the ground. The junior is putting up 6.6 yards per carry this season.

Michigan has a running back in the mix as well in sophomore Blake Corum (+10000). Corum has rushed for 729 yards and 10 touchdowns this season on 116 carries. He also has 18 receptions for 125 yards.

Joining Corum at +10000 is Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara. The junior has thrown for 1,115 yards and five touchdowns with one interception. Although his passing attempts are up in recent games, he still is averaging just 7.6 yards per attempt.

MSU quarterback Payton Thorne is listed at +15000 for his efforts thus far. The sophomore has thrown for 1,701 yards and 15 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also has rushed for 96 yards and two scores.

Thorne’s top target, Jayden Reed, finds himself at +20000. Reed has 27 receptions for 562 yards and five touchdowns. The junior is averaging over 20 yards per catch this season.

All seem to have a lot of work to do to catch up to the favorites in Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (+160), Ole Miss QB Matt Corral (+300) and Ohio State QB CJ Stroud (+450).

Photo by Illustration from AP Images
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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