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Michigan State An Unlikely Contender in B1G

Michigan State has there opener tonight and they are heavily favored to beat Western Michigan.  By heavily favored, We mean it is one of those college games where the difference between the lines are just outrageous.  Michigan State is favored to win with a point spread of -28.

It is a good thing too.  Michigan State needs to kick off their season with a game they can win after the disappointing season they had last year.  No one had enough foresight, including the sportsbooks, to see that losing Kirk Cousins was going to be a nail-in-the-coffin type of event for Michigan State.

During the 2012 preseason, not only was Michigan State being pegged as the team to beat in the Big 10, but were also major bowl title contenders.  Instead of making a splash on the national scene, Michigan State had a lackluster 7-6 season.  They struggled in the passing game with Andrew Maxwell at quarterback who started 13 games.  The team only performed as well as they did because of running back Le’Veon Bell who hoisted his team on his back and ran for 1,793 yards on 382 carries last season for an average of 137.9 yards a game.

Over the preseason Michigan State had a  QB battle for the starting position that was won by Maxwell, who will start again in the 2013 season, despite his passing woes.  This year, though, the Spartans will not have Bell there to carry the ball.

Jeremy Langford will be Bell’s replacement, but the lack of depth and experience in the running back position already has Spartans talking about having linebackers do double duty as RBs on a few plays.

This brings us back to Maxwell.  With so many questions marks around the backs, the team may rely on Senoir QB Maxwell to air the ball out more.  Or maybe not.

To illustrate the lack of confidence Michigan State has in Maxwell, he was only named starting QB a few days ago.  The QB battle lasted up to the last possible minute and during that duration all four QBs were listed as the starter on the depth chart.  This means that it was a close battle and if Maxwell shows he cannot get it done there are other QBs who may be just as good waiting to take his spot.

It seems that the Spartans find themselves in another precarious situation this season as instead of adding depth between this year and last year they lost it.

Let’s put into perspective the expectations we should have for the Spartans using a prop bet at Bovada that is currently up.  The moneyline for the Spartans to win over 8.5 games is at -165 compared to under’s moneyline at+135.  The odds are close but clearly the sportsbooks still have faith in this team.  The question is, should bettors?

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