College Football Week 8 Picks: Michigan State Spartans vs. Michigan Wolverines
Denard Robinson is definitely one of the more important factors to handicap when making your against-the-spread picks in the Big Ten Conference, as the Michigan Wolverines (4-2) take on the Michigan State Spartans (4-3) on Saturday afternoon inside Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
The Wolverines are currently nine-point home favorites in the Week 8 college football betting odds (courtesy of SBR Forum), while the total has held steady at 43.
Robinson will be searching for his first-ever victory in this in-state rivalry, while the program itself has lost four consecutive games to Michigan State, including last year's 28-14 loss as three-point road underdogs.
Let's take a closer look at this contest from a betting perspective, while providing a college football prediction along the way.
Michigan State Spartans
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Michigan State Spartans have alternated wins and losses over their last six games, as they come off a 19-16 overtime loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes as 8.5-point home favorites.
Running back Le'Veon Bell will need to continue his strong play if the team plans on avoiding back-to-back Big Ten losses in the same season for the first time since October 2009.
I believe the Spartans will be hard-pressed to open up running lanes for their star runner, considering quarterback Andrew Maxwell has completed just 54.3 percent of his passes.
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Michigan Wolverines' head coach Brady Hoke has watched his team hammer two conference opponents this year, including a 45-0 win over the Illinois Fighting Illini as 24-point home favorites last week.
The rushing attack has finished with 200-plus yards in four of the last five games, which is important heading into this matchup, as the winner of 39 of the past 42 meetings has won the rushing battle.
Sports bettors will find that the Wolverines are 9-6 against the spread (ATS) in their last 15 games as a home favorite, while the Spartans are 2-3 ATS as a road underdog since 2010.
Las Vegas Perspective
I reached out to Jimmy Vaccaro earlier this week about this high-profile affair. He serves as the public relations director for William Hill US, and here's what he had to say:
Mini-upset here. Michigan State is coming off of a dismal performance last week, but they'll rise to the occasion. I say that simply because they looked so bad and Michigan looked so good last Saturday. These two are close.
I believe this is one of the more interesting betting lines of the entire weekend, especially with the Michigan State Spartans kicking off as a favorite in their previous seven games during the 2012 college football season.
Michigan has never lost five straight games in this series, which fits nicely with the winning team covering the spread in the last seven meetings.
I'm going to recommend that readers lay the points in this Big Ten affair, with the Spartans falling to 0-6 ATS in their last six conference losses as an underdog.
College Football Week 8 Pick: Michigan Wolverines -9