Can Michigan State Pull Off Another Underdog Victory Vs. No. 4 Ohio State?

Written By Drew Ellis on December 1, 2020 - Last Updated on April 26, 2022
ohio state vs. msu

Some of the biggest wins for the Michigan State program over the years have come against Ohio State.

The Spartans are hoping to dial up some magic again this Saturday when they host the Buckeyes at Noon ET.

That might be a tall order at this juncture. But Ohio is shorthanded.

Can the Spartans handle being a major underdog against the Buckeyes?

Ohio State vs. MSU odds: Buckeyes heavily favored

Here’s a closer look at this week’s Big Ten college football matchup:

  • Who: No. 4 Ohio State (4-0, 4-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State (2-3, 2-3)
  • When: Saturday, Dec. 5, Noon ET
  • Where: Spartan Stadium in East Lansing
  • Watch: The game airs live on ABC

Oddsmakers are all in agreement that Ohio State is the clear favorite. Most are listing the Buckeyes as a 23.5-point road favorite against the Spartans. BetMGM Sportsbook was an outlier Wednesday at 21.5 points, though the juice was heavy on Ohio State at -143. BetMGM has since settled in at 23.5 points.

(Odds last updated Thursday, Dec. 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET.)

Ohio State at Michigan State Week 14 oddsBetMGMDraftKingsFanDuelPointsBetWilliam Hill
Point spread
(-110 juice unless noted)
OSU -23.5
MSU +23.5
OSU -24 -109
MSU +24 -112
OSU -23.5 -115
MSU +23.5 -105
OSU -23.5
MSU +23.5
OSU -23.5
MSU +23.5
MoneylineOSU -1600
MSU +850
OSU -2500
MSU +1050
OSU -2200
MSU +980
OSU -2299
MSU +1200
OSU -2800
MSU +1200
Total points
(-110 juice unless noted)
O 59.5
U 59.5
O 59.5 -112
U 59.5 -109
O 59.5 -108
U 59.5 -112
O 59.5
U 59.5
O 59.5
U 59.5

When it comes to the moneyline, Ohio State has a wide range. The Buckeyes were listed anywhere from -2200 to -4000. Michigan State is listed anywhere from +980 to +1400.

The over/under was unanimously set at 59.5 points early, but has budged some since.

Here’s where you can bet on Ohio State vs. MSU

Due to a three-week COVID-19 pandemic closure order, Greektown Casino, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino in Detroit are all closed. Some of the tribal casinos have elected to close as well.

This limits where you can bet on college football in the state, but there are options:

  • Turtle Creek (William Hill)
  • Leelanau Sands Casino (William Hill)
  • Four Winds in Dowagiac, Hartford, New Buffalo (Kambi)
  • Gun Lake Casino (Parx)
  • FireKeepers Casino (Sci Games)
  • Island Resort & Casino (BetAmerica)
  • Odawa Casino in Petoskey, Mackinaw City (Fox Bet)

As for online sports betting, there was good news this week but it’s still a work in progress. The latest projections are set for mid-to-late December or early 2021. Keep up with the latest updates here.

Buckeyes lead all-time series with Spartans

While Michigan State has some notable victories in this series, Ohio State has a 33-15 advantage in the all-time history.

The Buckeyes have won four straight meetings, winning the last three by at least 20 points.

Between these two, the under has scored for Michigan sports bettors. It has hit in five straight meetings.

Ohio State comes into this game 11-5 against the spread in their last 16 Big Ten games.

Michigan State has struggled to cover at home, going 3-14 ATS in their last 17 home games.

Buckeyes in desperation mode to play

Ohio State had to cancel its game with Illinois last weekend due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

The Buckeyes had their game with Maryland canceled back on Nov. 14, too. If Ohio State is unable to play this weekend against MSU, or next weekend against Michigan, the Buckeyes won’t be eligible to play in the Big Ten Championship Game.

Among those that tested positive for the virus was head coach Ryan Day.

On Monday, Ohio State resumed team activities for players not quarantined or in isolation. However, all meetings are being conducted virtually.

This season, Ohio State has one of the top offenses in the nation. The Buckeyes average 45.3 points and 535.3 yards per game, both of which rank in the top 10 nationally.

Justin Fields has thrown for 1,208 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. He also has rushed for 135 yards and three scores. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Fields is listed at +1000 to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.

Spartans pull off another upset

For the second time this season, Michigan State won a game where it was a double-digit underdog.

The Spartans upset Michigan on Oct. 31 as a 21.5-point underdog, 27-24. Last Saturday, the Spartans topped previously-unbeaten Northwestern, 29-20, despite being a 13.5-point home underdog.

The story of the victory was the MSU defense. The Spartans held the Wildcats to just 285 total yards and only 63 rushing yards. MSU also forced four turnovers, with Shakur Brown intercepting a pair of passes.

After getting benched the week prior, Rocky Lombardi got the start against the Wildcats and threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns. However, he was just 11 of 27 passing.

Lombardi will look to find success this week against an Ohio State passing defense that ranks 116th nationally by giving up 290.3 yards per game.

Rushing the ball will also be key to keep the Ohio State offense off the field. The Spartans rushed for 195 yards on 47 carries against Northwestern last Saturday.

Even with Ohio State crippled by COVID-19, the odds for this game still lean toward the Buckeyes. The underdog status seems to work well for MSU though.

Photo by AP Photo/Al Goldis
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Written by
Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the 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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