Michigan State A Wary Double-Digit Homecoming Favorite Vs. Potent Western Kentucky

Written By Julie Walker on September 28, 2021
Michigan State Western Kentucky Football September 2021

The Michigan State football team escaped with a 23-20 overtime win against Nebraska last Saturday to stay undefeated and move to a 4-0 start for the first time since 2015. The narrow victory bumped up Michigan State three spots in Sunday’s Associated Press poll, so they’ll head into Saturday’s tilt against Western Kentucky ranked No. 17.

Michigan State’s a considerable favorite, but can they resuscitate their offense enough to keep the Hilltoppers from sniffing an upset?

Western Kentucky at Michigan State: NCAA Football Odds

Michigan State favored by double digits vs. Western Kentucky

As of early Tuesday, Michigan State’s edge ranged from 10.5 to 11.5 points, depending on the book within the Michigan sports betting scene. BetMGM Sportsbook gave 11 points to the team from Kentucky, FanDuel Sportsbook gave 11.5 points and PointsBet Sportsbook had the Spartans giving up 10.5.

The over/under was 61.5 points at BetMGM and FanDuel, and 60.5 at PointsBet. On the moneyline, PointsBet gave +320 for Western Kentucky and set Michigan State as a -420 favorite. FanDuel’s options were +340 and -470, and BetMGM was listing +320 and -400, respectively.

(Editor’s note: The best real-time odds on both sides of the spread, moneyline and point total are in our tracker above.)

Despite the close call against Nebraska, Michigan State’s odds to win the national title finally improved from +15000 to +8000 at BetMGM. FanDuel is giving the Spartans +10000 odds for the title shot.

Michigan State has covered the spread twice this season. By winning but not covering the -5 spread against Nebraska, the game’s outcome was among the most profitable for BetMGM last weekend.

How to watch: No. 17 Michigan State Spartans vs. Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

  • Wh0: Western Kentucky (1-2) at No. 17 Michigan State (4-0)
  • When: 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday
  • Where: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Mich.
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • Radio: Spartan Media Network/760 WJR-AM
  • Satellite radio: Sirius XM Channel 197

The Spartans need their offense to snap back

Michigan State led 13-10 heading into halftime against Nebraska, but the offense sputtered afterward. The Spartans failed to get a first down in the third and fourth quarters.

With about four minutes left to play, a bad Nebraska punt that went left instead of right allowed Jayden Reed to snag the ball and run 62 yards into the end zone to tie the game at 20-all. Teammate Jalen Nailor also was back to receive the punt and helped lure a swarm of Cornhuskers his way.

An interception from Spartans cornerback Chester Kimbrough helped set up kicker Matt Coghlin’s game-winning, 21-yard field goal in overtime.

Nebraska’s defense was especially deft at containing junior running back Kenneth Walker III, who finished with 19 carries for just 61 yards. Despite the subpar outing by the junior’s standards, Walker III still leads the FBS in rushing through four games with 554 yards on 76 carries and five touchdowns.

Sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne was 14-for-23 and threw for 183 yards, a touchdown and his sole interception of the season.

Sophomore Tre Mosley had six receptions for 70 yards. Reed finished with 59 yards on four receptions and a touchdown. On Monday, he was named Big Ten Conference special teams player of the week.

Can the Hilltoppers’ offense lift them past the Spartans?

Western Kentucky is coming off a 33-31 home loss to Indiana, though it stayed close most of the game. Its offense was firing away and the defense forced four field goals and two punts from the Hoosiers.

Quarterback Bailey Zappe threw three touchdowns and was 31-for-44 passing for 365 yards. Noah Whitting rushed for 41 yards on six carries. Adam Cofield had 40 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Jerreth Sterns led the team in receiving yards with 82 on seven receptions. Malachi Corley, Daewood Davis and Dalvin Smith each added a touchdown in the loss.

Hopes of a happy homecoming in East Lansing

The Hilltoppers put up 458 yards of offense against the Hoosiers and could pose a sneaky threat to the Spartans on Saturday. Michigan State drummed up just 254 yards against Nebraska.

The Spartans’ offense needs to rev up if they’re to snag a homecoming victory in their first meeting with the Hilltoppers.

Photo by Al Goldis/AP
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Julie Walker

Julie has written, edited and designed words at five Michigan newspapers and websites. She’s worked on two sports desks, including at The Oakland Press and most recently at The Detroit News. Julie has contributed to stories on many big sports moments, from the NFL's 100th season to Super Bowls to Justin Verlander’s trade to the closing of the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Julie loves lakes, bonfires, Dachshunds, coaching Little League and carrying on her Dad’s fantasy football legacy that he started in 1987 — before there was an app for that.

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