The No. 7 Michigan State Spartans are 16-1 SU and 12-4-1 ATS over their last 17 games. Despite that strong track record, the Spartans have the role of the heavy underdog this week as they visit the No. 3 Oregon Ducks as a 12-point underdog.
Michigan State, which hasn’t been a double-digit dog since 2009, is 8-0-1 ATS in its last nine games as the betting underdog and 6-3 SU in those nine games, including a 34-24 upset of Ohio State in last season’s Big Ten championship game.
The Spartans will face another prolific offense this Saturday when it squares off with Oregon. The Ducks are 16-1 SU in their last 17 games at home and have averaged a staggering 51.2 points per game over that stretch. Oregon is 7-5 ATS over its last 12 games at home but just 0-3 ATS in its last three. Saturday's game will mark the first time that the Ducks have been a home favorite by less than two touchdowns since they beat Stanford 52-31 as 6.5-point favorites in 2010.
Last year's Spartans team finished in the top three in the nation in both total defense and scoring defense, allowing only 13.2 points per game. Six of that unit's 11 starters are no longer with the team, however, meaning that over half of the defense will be getting its first real taste of a hostile road environment against one of the nation's most dangerous offenses and one of college football's best quarterbacks in Marcus Mariota.
Michigan State's smashmouth brand of football may be exactly what a team needs to upset the rhythm of the Ducks, as similarly built Stanford teams have illustrated in recent matchups with Oregon. Stanford beat the Ducks twice in the past two years, including an overtime win in Eugene in 2012.
But can the Spartans overcome so many losses on defense against a relentless attack like Oregon's? Time will tell in this week's Odds Shark Game of the Week.