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Michigan State Football: What to make of win total set at 4.5 by Vegas

Vegas is not high on MSU.

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Michigan State football
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

Caesar’s Sportsbook has set the Michigan State football win total at 4.5 for the upcoming 2023 season. What do we think of that?

Caesar’s Sportsbook has released some early season win totals for college football. Michigan State football is currently set at 4.5 wins. The over is juiced to -180, with the underpriced at +150. These splits would indicate the true projected number is probably closer to five.

Before we get into whether or not there is any value in betting this, let’s talk about what this means for Michigan State. In reality, it means nothing. Michigan State is going to get their chance to go and win all 12 games regardless of what Vegas thinks. Their projections have absolutely zero impact on the outcome of games.

But there’s a reason the resorts in the desert are so massive and the city keeps expanding. The house always wins. In other words, your average Joe sports fan isn’t setting the line. Thousands of data points go into these totals. Vegas projections are noteworthy because they’re usually pretty darn close.

In that case, this is a pretty concerning number for Michigan State. Five wins should be the absolute floor for a school like MSU based on its baseline talent and schedule. Vegas is telling us that there’s a chance they don’t even get that many. It’s hard to disagree. The Spartans were not competitive in a number of games last year and beat one team (Illinois) that finished better than 6-6. They’ll be without their two leading receivers from last season and their starting quarterback. The defense showed improvement late last season, but still appears to be a ways away from being a dominant unit.

Let’s take a look at the 2023 schedule to see if we can find five wins in here somewhere.

  • Sept. 1: vs. Western Michigan
  • Sept. 9: vs. Richmond
  • Sept. 16: vs. Washington
  • Sept. 23: vs. Maryland
  • Sept. 30: at Iowa
  • Oct. 14: at Rutgers
  • Oct. 21: vs. Michigan
  • Oct. 28: at Minnesota
  • Nov. 4: vs. Nebraska
  • Nov. 11: at Ohio State
  • Nov. 18: at Indiana
  • Nov. 25: vs. Penn State

Personally, I always find it tempting to bet the over on low win totals because, well, you don’t need as many wins to win your bet. Your bet stays alive for much later in the season — even if it seems improbable. On top of that, there’s always the potential to cash it early in the season if the team pulls an upset or two.

As far as Michigan State in 2023, I can’t recommend laying -180 for this team to get to five wins. The juice is too much, so I’d recommend waiting until we see some fives out there on other books. Even if or when that does happen though, I can’t endorse it.

Assuming Michigan State football beats Western Michigan and Richmond, we’ve still have to find three more wins. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Michigan State won’t beat the Buckeyes in Columbus. They’ll have a puncher’s chance against Michigan and Penn State because those games are at home. But I’d still expect the Spartans to be at least two-touchdown underdogs.

That leaves seven games. Can MSU go 3-4 against Maryland, Iowa, Minnesota, Rutgers, Indiana, Nebraska, and Washington? Maybe. But I’m not betting on it. Maryland appears to be a program on the rise and handled MSU with relative ease in 2022. You know you’re getting a tough Iowa defense in a place where MSU has struggled tremendously over the years. Minnesota took the Spartans to the cleaners in 2022. Nebraska should be improved with Matt Rhule in year one. The two easiest games on this schedule — Indiana and Rutgers — are both road games, where nothing is a given.

Quite honestly, I think the season comes down to how Michigan State football plays in September. They have the benefit of playing four games in a row at home to start the season. If they can find a way to win three of those games, I think this cashes with ease. But if they come out at 2-2, with five of their eight remaining games on the road, then things get dicey.

As of now, I’m staying away entirely. Vegas was wildly wrong on Michigan State in 2021 with this same number of 4.5. They did not see Kenneth Walker coming. Maybe there is a difference-maker within the program of that quality. But I’m not putting money down on it. As noted, MSU’s baseline level of talent scares me off the under as well. Plus, that’s just not fun to root for.

Wait this one out for a better number and to see if MSU adds any unexpected talent via the transfer portal.

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Michigan State football: Washington game time, channel announced

Fans won’t be too thrilled about the channel.

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© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington vs. Michigan State football rematch is on Sept. 16, and the Spartans have revenge on their minds.

The game time for the Washington vs. Michigan State football game was just announced and is one I think most Michigan State fans will be happy with. The game will kick off at 5 p.m. ET on Sept. 16.

This is a great start time for Michigan State fans. That will give fans plenty of time to travel to East Lansing, enjoy a tailgate and get into the stadium. On top of that, the game will get down around 8 p.m. ET which is good for the crowd that does not like to be out late.

However, I think a lot of fans were hoping for a noon start time in this game. A noon start would have been a 9 a.m. local time for Washington, likely giving the Spartans a slight advantage. It’s no surprise seeing this big of a game scheduled in the evening to avoid that.

On top of the game time announcement, where the game will be aired on TV was also announced. This is where the good news ends. The Spartans game against Washington will only be available for streaming on Peacock. That means Spartan fans at home will have to pay to watch this game. However, a simple Google search showed me that Peacock currently only costs $20 for the entire year. A lot of Big Ten football and basketball games will only be available on Peacock this season, so that may not be a bad investment to make right now if you can.

What would a win mean for Michigan State football?

Michigan State will have revenge on its mind in this game. Washington beat the Spartans last season in Seattle 39-28. The game however did not feel that close. Michigan State made a late comeback to make the final score look respectable, but a lot of fans will tell you we never really stood a chance.

Washington will likely be a top 10 heading into this matchup, so Michigan State has a great opportunity in front of it. A win would would help spring the Spartans into the conference season with a lot of positive momentum.

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Jordan Hall hosts second annual free youth football camp (Video)

Jordan Hall is a legend already.

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Jordan Hall
© Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Michigan State freshman linebacker Jordan Hall continues to show just why he’s one of the best out there.

Jordan Hall is already showing signs of being the next great Spartan on and off the field.

The Michigan State freshman linebacker was born and raised in Fredericksburg, Va. However, he most recently moved to Bradenton, Fla., to play football at IMG Academy.

This past weekend, Hall returned home to Fredericksburg to host his second annual free Jordan Hall Youth Football Camp.

Hall has already been making a name for himself on the field for the Spartans this spring. His play and effort has been praised by fellow players and coaches alike. IMG Academy has a long history of producing high-quality athletes. This makes Hall’s tenure in the program even more noteworthy. He became the first three-time captain in IMG Academy history.

When coaches are recruiting players, they are hoping to find the perfect mix of talent and character. You don’t become a three-time captain of a storied school like IMG Academy without having both.

In a recent interview with Spartan Shadows, Cryeeta Hall said of her son, “One of his favorite things he loves to do is teach the game of football to kids. He loves to coach.”

Michigan State fans are excited to see what Jordan Hall can contribute on the field, but his character off the field so far is creating just as much excitement. When you see a young man with the heart and determination to give back to his hometown, it lets fans know this is the sort of player you can to rally around and support. Mel Tucker has shown intentionality in his recruiting. He has a specific type of player that he’s looking for. Jordan Hall epitomizes a Tucker type of player.

Hall has the potential to earn immediate playing time this year as a true freshman. I’m not a betting man but if I were, I’d wager that we’ll see him as a team captain for the green and white sooner than later.

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Mel Tucker is best coach in the Big Ten when it comes to one stat

This may surprise you.

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Mel Tucker
© Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Mel Tucker is the best coach in the conference when it comes to this one surprising stat.

Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker is one of the best coaches in the Big Ten when it comes to close games.

This may surprise some considering two of Tucker’s three years at Michigan State have resulted in losing seasons. But the data shows that Tucker knows how to come out on top when the game is close.

He has been at Michigan State since 2020. During that three year timeframe he boasts a 10-1 record in games decided by 10 points or less which is the best record in the conference during that span.

Here is a list of all 11 of those games:

2020

  • at Michigan (W 27-24)
  • vs. Northwestern (W 29-20)

2021

  • vs. Nebraska (W 23-20)
  • at Indiana (W 20-15)
  • vs. Michigan (W 37-33)
  • vs. Penn State (W 30-27)
  • vs. Pittsburgh (W 31-21)

2022

  • vs. Wisconsin (W 34-28)
  • at Illinois (W 23-15)
  • vs. Rutgers (W 27-21)
  • vs. Indiana (L 39-31)

How impressive is this really?

A 10-1 record when games are within 10 points is extremely impressive. The only loss on this list is Indiana from last season, a game Michigan State likely should have one. The Spartans ended up losing in overtime to the Hoosiers, but were a chip shot field goal away from winning in regulation. That is a field goal college kickers make almost every time, so Tucker’s one loss on this list could easily have been another win.

Regardless, 10-1 is the best winning percentage in games decided by 10 points or less in the Big Ten during that three-year span.

This is how the rest of the Big Ten teams fared during this same timeframe:

  1. Michigan State: 10-1 (.909)
  2. Maryland: 8-3 (.727)
  3. Iowa: 11-5 (.688)
  4. Indiana: 7-4 (.636)
  5. Purdue: 12-7 (.632)
  6. Ohio State: 3-2 (.600)
  7. Michigan: 6-4 (.600)
  8. Minnesota: 9-7 (.563)
  9. Rutgers: 7-6 (.538)
  10. Wisconsin: 6-7 (.462)
  11. Penn State: 5-7 (.417)
  12. Northwestern: 5-9 (.357)
  13. Illinois: 6-11 (.353)
  14. Nebraska: 5-16 (.238)

What does this tell us about Mel Tucker?

One thing this tells us is the Tuck is a great in game coach in tight situations. No coach goes 10-1 in close games by accident. Sometimes there is a lot of luck involved with winning close games, but that’s not necessarily the case when you win them this efficiently. Anyone can close a game out when you are up by 20, but not everyone can win a close game in the closing seconds.

This statistic is not all good though. Michigan State has won 18 games during the past three seasons. This means that over half of the games Mel Tucker has won at Michigan State have been within 10 points. For a program with extremely high goals, that fact is a little scary.

As I mentioned before, sometimes luck has to be on your side to win these close games. So relying on winning a lot of close games to have a great season is not a recipe for success.

One things for sure though, as long as Mel Tucker is the coach at Michigan State, we stand a very good chance at winning any close game.

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