The Michigan State Spartans will open their 2021 season by traveling to Evansville, Illinois to take on the Northwestern Wildcats in a Big Ten matchup on Friday night.

Michigan State is coming off a disappointing 2-5 season but if there was a highlight in their campaign, it was their 29-20 home win against Northwestern. The Spartans are 6-18 ATS in their last 24 games played and are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 Big Ten Conference games.

Northwestern meanwhile went 7-2 last season and went on to win the Citrus Bowl by defeating Auburn. The Wildcats also had a 7-2 record in favor of the under as defense was their meal ticket last season.

The Spartans however, have won six out of the last 10 head-to-head meetings between these two teams.

Football Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State struggled to get going in the COVID-19 disrupted 2020 season and they ended up with their second losing season in 11 years. With head coach Mel Tucker entering his second season at the helm, the Spartans look to change things up this year.

The Spartans averaged only 18 points per game last season and passed for only 238.9 yards per game while rushing for 91.4 yards per contest. With 10 starters returning this year, Tucker hopes the offense will be better.

Payton Thorne threw for 582 passing yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions as last season’s backup. Transferee Anthony Russo heads to Michigan State after a 16-10 record as the starter for Temple. Jordon Simmons led the team with 219 rushing yards while Jalen Nailor caught 26 passes for 515 yards with four TD grabs.

What are the Moneyline Odds?
Michigan State Spartans Logo

Michigan State


Northwestern Wildcats Logo



Odds from BetOnline as of 09/02/2021

Football Northwestern Wildcats

The Northwestern Wildcats finished the 2020 season with a 7-2 record which was good enough to take the Big Ten Conference. However, they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten title game. Northwestern lost 14 starters from last season but they believe they are still the team to beat this year.

Northwestern scored an average of 24.6 points per game last season. They registered only 197.9 passing yards per game but rushed for 162.8 yards per contest.

QB Peyton Ramsey graduated after the season and it will be senior Hunter Johnson who will play behind center for the Wildcats. Johnson completed 46.3% of his passes 432 passing yards with one touchdown and four interceptions in 2019.

Football Who Wins?

Michigan State is 1-4 SU in their last five games played. The Spartans are 4-6 SU in their last 10 games played on the road and 3-7 SU in their last 10 road games as betting underdogs. The Wildcats are 8-2 in their last 10 games played. Northwestern is 5-1 SU in their last six games played at home, and 7-0 SU in their last seven home games as betting favorites.

The Spartans were 2-5 last season and their five losses were by an average losing margin of 26.4 points per game. But Michigan State’s two victories came against Michigan and well, Northwestern with both victories coming via double-digit margin. On the other hand, Northwestern finished the previous campaign with a 7-2 mark and finished the season with a victory over Auburn in the Citrus Bowl.

Please Note

Northwestern’s offense will have a new quarterback with senior Hunter Johnson replacing the departed Peyton Ramsey. A former five-star recruit, Johnson didn’t start a game last year after having an injury-plagued 2019 season.

 However, the Wildcats aren’t expected to win this game through the air. They will do so with their running game and defense. With the Spartans allowed 157.3 rushing yards per game last season, I’ll take the Wildcats to win this game.

Prediction: Northwestern -160

Football Other Bets to Make

Michigan State is 6-18 ATS in their last 24 games played. The Spartans are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games played on grass, 3-12 ATS in their last 15 Conference games, 1-4 ATS in their last Friday games, 2-10 ATS in their last 12 games as underdogs, and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games as road underdogs.

Northwestern is 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games played. The Wildcats are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games, 4-0 ATS in their last four games as home favorites, 5-1 ATS in their last six games played on grass, and 33-16-2 in their last 51 conference games played.

What are the Spread Odds?
Michigan State Spartans Logo

Michigan State

+3.5 (-120)

Northwestern Wildcats Logo


-3.5 (+100)

Odds from BetOnline as of 09/02/2021

Despite Johnson not starting a game last season, the quarterback won’t be an issue for Northwestern which loves to run the ball more than throw it in the air. With Michigan State’s run defense allowing 157.3 rushing yards per game, the Wildcats will still be able to move the ball and score points. Cam Porter had 331 rushing yards to lead the Wildcats while Bryce Kirtz leads the returning receivers with six catches for 76 yards last season.

Unless the Spartans prove that they have addressed their offensive line issues, it’s hard to trust them with your bet, especially when they are up against a good defensive team like the Wildcats. Russo isn’t a bad option to start for MSU but he can be turnover-prone and Joseph and the Northwestern defense will be waiting for him.

Give me the Wildcats to cover a spread that is less than a touchdown.

Prediction: Northwestern -3.5

The total has gone over in four out of the last five games played by the Spartans. The over is 5-1 in their last six September games, 4-1 in their last five conference games, and 4-1 in their last five games played on grass.

The total has gone under in seven out of Northwestern’s last nine games played. The under is 7-1 in their last eight conference games, 48-18-1 in their last 67 home games, 37-17-2 in their last 56 games as betting favorites, and 38-15-1 in their last 54 games as home favorites.

Head to head, the over is 5-0 in the last five meetings between these two teams. The over is also 5-2 in their last seven meetings in Northwestern.

What are the Total Odds?


46.5 (-110)



46.5 (-110)

Odds from BetOnline as of 09/02/2021

These are two offenses that were not as prolific as say, Oklahoma or Alabama. The Spartans may be better with Russo but I’m not sure by how much. Northwestern doesn’t throw the ball too much and their running game takes up plenty of clock.

 The Wildcats saw the under go 7-2 in their nine games last season, showing how much they relied on defense to win games. This isn’t the same Northwestern defense that we saw last year but it’s not going to be too much of a difference to matter.

Prediction: Under 46.5

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