Washington vs. Michigan State kicks off this Saturday at 5:00pm EST in East Lansing as a home game for the Spartans. Michigan State is currently a +16 underdog and +550 on the moneyline while the total is set at 57.5. Read on for more Washington vs. Michigan State best bets and predictions as the Huskies are in a good position to cover a rising spread.
Washington Vs. Michigan State Prediction & Best Bet
Washington came into the season as a trendy sleeper pick to win the Pac 12 and they have looked every bit of the part in thanks to their elite pass attack. Michael Penix Jr is firmly in the Heisman mix as he leads the Huskies offense. He currently has thrown for an astounding 859 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception in two games.
As a unit, this Washington team unsurprisingly ranks near league best in numerous advanced passing categories. They are currently fourth in Pass Success Rate and ninth in Pass PPA. Their Explosiveness dips to league average, 57th in Pass Explosiveness, yet they rely on shorter field throws than the deep ball. That isn’t to say Penix is not capable of connecting on the deep ball as we saw him routinely hit his receivers in stride so far this season.
Instead, their offense is built around efficiency by creating separation for their playmakers in the open field at a quick pace. This forces opposing secondaries to creep in, eventually leading them to getting burnt by an explosive play. This makes for an intriguing battle against the Spartans as they currently rank top-20 in Def Pass Success Rate and Explosiveness, yet their quality of opponent is nowhere near Washington’s level as they routed Central Michigan and Richmond.
As for the Washington defense, this unit came into the year with one of the highest TARP ratings and were poised to improve from their below average defensive metrics off of continuity alone. So far that has been proven true as they rank 25th in Def Pass Success Rate, limiting opposing pass consistency as well as pressuring the backfield.
On the flip side, the rush defense has not been ideal as the Huskies have struggled to plug the gaps against the run. While this may be an issue down the road against Pac 12 play, the Spartans will be unable to exploit this as they rank 84th in Rush Success and 121st in Rush PPA. Abysmal metrics for the low quality of defenses that have faced.
Washington Vs. Michigan State Prediction & Best Bet: Washington -16
Washington Vs. Michigan State Betting Odds
This spread has seen a drastic rise since opening as one of the games of the year, opening at -7.5 in Washington’s favor. That number has since ballooned up to -14 before off field issues surrounding their head coach leaked out earlier this week ticked it up to -16. Even after a drastic rise, the current number still has value as projections have the Huskies at -17. Should a decision be made before Saturday and players opt for the transfer portal before kickoff, the spread may suffer another drastic increase.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 60.5. Bettors are firmly in a disagreement with that sentiment as they have backed the under down to 57.5 as of writing. This will be heavily predicated on the Spartans ability to move the ball against Washington’s defense as their ground game will not be able to exploit their weakness and the Huskies pass defense can match the Spartans short game.
Washington Vs. Michigan State Key Matchups
Can Washington’s Will Nixon find success on the ground in an attempt to free up the pass attack?
Will Nixon Vs. Spartans Front Seven
While he has not seen his number called that much so far this season, carrying the ball only 12 times total in two games played, Nixon plays a pivotal role in the Huskies offense as his running prowess can open up the pass attack.
Should the Spartans pass defense hold true to their current metrics and give Washington’s pass attack fits, it will be on Nixon to find success on the ground in an attempt to collapse the second level. This will force the Spartans in an uncomfortable position to cover both areas of attack, freeing up passing lanes for Penix to pick apart and keep the ball moving into scoring territory.