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How and what to watch for No. 11 Northwestern vs. Michigan State

Ready for some offensive football? You’ll need to go elsewhere as we look toward Michigan State and Northwestern.

Northwestern Wildcats wide receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman runs as Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Jack Sanborn defends during the second half at Ryan Field. David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

If you like watching high-quality offensive football, Saturday’s game between the Northwestern Wildcats and Michigan State Spartans is not the one for you. If you cannot get enough of solid, fundamental defense with mediocre offensive play, boy do we have a show for you.

Northwestern comes into this game at 5-0 after a big win over Wisconsin and checked in at No. 8 in this season’s first College Football Playoff’s rankings reveal earlier this week. The Wildcats have been outstanding on defense as they rank sixth in the country in yards per play allowed. On the other side, Northwestern’s offense is pretty brutal, ranking No. 118 in yards per play. The Wildcats got the benefit of several questionable - dare I say - bad calls against Wisconsin and forced five Badger turnovers and still finished with just 17 points.

Guess how many points Michigan State has scored since Halloween. Go ahead and do it before reading any further. If you guessed seven, you would be correct. Last week’s game was canceled due to a coronavirus outbreak for Maryland, but the Spartans scored seven against Iowa and were shut out at home against Indiana. Michigan State is pretty good defensively at 33rd in yards per play allowed. Offensively, the Spartans are slightly ahead of Northwestern, ranking 113th in yards per play.

Michigan State snapped a three-game losing streak in this series, beating Northwestern 31-10 in 2019.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch No. 11 Northwestern vs. Michigan State on Saturday, November 28th at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, or you can stream it via the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: Northwestern (-12.5) vs. Michigan State
Point Total: 41.5
Money line: Northwestern (-670) vs. Michigan State (+400)

  • Northwestern won its last six games and is 5-0-1 against the spread in that span.
  • Northwestern unders have cashed in each of its last five games, and Michigan State hit the under in five of its last seven games.
  • Michigan State is 3-10 against the spread in its last 13 games. It failed to cover in each of its last six home games and is 0-8 against the spread in its last eight against Northwestern at home.

Betting splits

Northwestern: (86% of handle, 80% percent of bets)
Michigan State: (14% of handle, 20% percent of bets)

The Best Bet

The second I saw this game, I knew under would be the correct play. Yes, 41.5 is a low number but it should be even lower than that. Even if this thing dipped into the 30s, it wouldn’t scare me. Both teams rely on the defensive side of the ball, and both are as offensively challenged as it gets among Power 5 teams. It’s very possible Michigan State fails to put a point on the board, and Northwestern’s offense has done nothing to think it will explode for a big day offensively. Take the under and don’t think twice about it.

Pick: Under 41.5

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