Michigan State-Ohio State A Showdown In Big Ten, But Not At Sportsbooks

Written By Drew Ellis on November 15, 2021
Michigan State Ohio State Payton Thorne November 2021

There’s no debate ahead of a Michigan State clash with Ohio State that the Buckeyes are the class of Big Ten Conference football.

However, the Spartans football program has a history of upsetting the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Will seventh-ranked Michigan State have another magical performance up their sleeve when they face the fifth-ranked Buckeyes this Saturday?

Michigan State Spartans at Ohio State Buckeyes: NCAA Football Odds

Oddsmakers heavily backing Ohio State

Although MSU is a top-10 team and has some wins at Ohio State, oddsmakers don’t have much faith in the Spartans this week.

Most sportsbooks are listing MSU as a 19-point underdog on the road against the Buckeyes. FanDuel Sportsbook has the Spartans as an 18.5-point underdog.

The moneyline isn’t available at all sportsbooks, but BetMGM Sportsbook has MSU at +725 for Saturday. Ohio State is getting -1200 odds.

The over/under total in the Michigan sports betting scene was mostly listed at 66.5 points as of Monday evening.

Michigan State is 7-1-2 against the spread this season, while Ohio State is 5-4-1 ATS. The over has hit in six of the 10 games for both teams.

This all-time series has belonged to Ohio State. The Buckeyes are 34-15 in 49 matchups with the Spartans. Ohio State has won five straight in the series and covered in the past four.

Michigan State’s most recent two wins over Ohio State both came in Columbus: in 2015 (17-14) and 2011 (10-7).

How to watch: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

  • What: Michigan State (9-1, 6-1 Big Ten) at Ohio State (9-1, 7-0)
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 19, Noon ET
  • Where: Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
  • TV: ABC (Announcers: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe)
  • Online livestream: ESPN+
  • Radio: Michigan State Football Radio Network

Spartans stay in the Big Ten race

Michigan State bounced back from its 40-29 letdown loss at Purdue two weeks ago with a 40-21 win at home over Maryland last Saturday.

MSU is tied with Michigan at 6-1 in the Big Ten East. Both are a game behind Ohio State, with the Buckeyes facing the pair of teams in the final two weeks of the regular season.

In Saturday’s win over Maryland, the Spartans put up 481 yards of offense through a balanced effort. MSU rushed for 194 and threw for 287.

Payton Thorne threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns on 22 of 30 passing. His 191.0 rating was the third-best performance of the season.

Without Jalen Nailor because of an injury, Thorne connected with Jayden Reed for 114 yards on eight receptions. Nailor remains questionable for this weekend with a hand injury.

Defensively, MSU again struggled with the pass. Maryland threw for 350 yards, as the Spartans fell to 130th nationally in pass defense. MSU is now giving up an average of 329.4 yards per game through the air.

That could be an issue against Ohio State’s offense, which is ranked sixth in passing yards at 353.6 yards per contest.

Kenneth Walker’s Heisman campaign hits big moment

It’s pretty firm that Kenneth Walker III has established himself as a top Heisman Trophy candidate.

Walker is currently listed by DraftKings Sportsbook at +280 to win the honor. Only Bryce Young of Alabama (+180) and CJ Stroud of Ohio State (+240) have shorter odds.

Walker is coming off a 143-yard performance with two scores against Maryland. His 1,473 yards on the season continues to lead the nation by more than 100 yards on the field.

This week’s game is Walker’s biggest showcase to date. Lighting up Ohio State will draw a lot of eyeballs, as would MSU winning.

It will not be an easy task, as Ohio State gives up just 107.3 rushing yards per game as a defense, though part of that can be because opponents trail OSU by so much, so quickly.

However, Ohio State did give up 236 rushing yards to Oregon in the Buckeyes’ lone loss of the season.

Ohio State runs over Purdue

Ohio State continued its offensive march through the Big Ten on Saturday with a 59-31 win over Purdue at home.

The Buckeyes put up 624 yards of total offense, including 263 on the ground, in the win. OSU is now tops in the nation in both total offense (550.3 ypg) and scoring offense (46.3 ppg).

Like Walker, Stroud remains a top Heisman candidate. He has thrown for 3,036 yards and 30 touchdowns with just five interceptions. His play will be measured against Walker for sure.

On the ground, TreVeyon Henderson has rushed for 1,035 yards and 14 scores, but the Buckeyes would be wise to focus on the air attack. MSU ranks 20th nationally against the run (114.6 ypg).

Defensively, Ohio State has been susceptible through the air as well, giving up 261.5 yards per game. That total ranks just 108th in the nation.

Known for creating treacherous pass rushers in the past, OSU is led this year by Haskell Garrett, who has just 4.5 sacks.

Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP
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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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