This article is part of our College Football Picks series.
Ohio State @ Michigan State Betting Odds, Picks, And Predictions for Week 6
Ohio State will play outside of Columbus for the first time this season, after rolling out to an early 5-0 record at home. Things have mostly gone as expected through five weeks, as Ryan Day's crew sits atop the nation in scoring offense (48.8 PPG) and third in total offense (529.6 yards) to go along with a much improved defensive unit.
It's been quite the opposite story up in East Lansing, where Mel Tucker's Spartans have failed to live up to the expectations from last year's 11-2 breakout campaign. The Spartans opened the season 2-0 before dropping their last three games by a combined score of 100-48. Now, there's little hope for the massive home underdogs to get things back on track against the No. 3-ranked Buckeyes.
Ohio State @ Michigan State Odds for Week 6
Spread: Ohio State -26.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Total: 64.5 (BetMGM)
Moneyline: Ohio State -4000 (FanDuel Sportsbook); Michigan State +1700 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Despite heading on the road for the first time this season, Ohio State is favored by 26.5 points. This leaves an implied score of 45.5 to 19, predicting that Michigan State will be able to keep it closer than last year's 56-7 drubbing in Columbus. Another win for the Buckeyes seems as good as gold, as the team's -4000 moneyline odds would actually yield a lower return on investment than the current discount rates on U.S. treasury bills.
Ohio State @ Michigan State Betting Picks This Week
Scoring hasn't been an issue no matter who's in the lineup for the Buckeyes this season. Ohio State put up 49 points against Rutgers last week without top offensive playmakers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson, as running back Miyan Williams rushed for a school-record five touchdowns.
The same cannot be said for Michigan State with just 20 points scored versus Big Ten opponents over the past two weeks. Getting over 64.5 points would probably require a lot to go right for both teams' offenses, along with season-worst performances for the defenses. There hasn't been a lot that's worked out for Michigan State this season, so it's safer to bet on Ohio State to show up on both sides of the ball and put this one out of reach early.
Ohio State @ Michigan State Best Bet: Ohio State -26.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Ohio State @ Michigan State Prediction
Michigan State's only hope to keep this game close is to establish an early lead and lean on the run game to keep Ohio State's prolific offense off the field. But, unless the Spartans win the coin toss and score on the opening drive, the Buckeyes should lead from wire to wire in this one. Getting out on top of teams early has come easy for quarterback C.J. Stroud, who is averaging an outlandish 10.3 yards per attempt en route to 18 touchdown passes this season.
On the other hand, Michigan State, which ranked dead last against the pass in 2021, hasn't looked much better this year, giving up 7.72 yards and a 0.241 EPA per pass, according to @statsowar on Twitter. As a result, Michigan State has been outscored 67-21 in the first half over the past three weeks, forcing quarterback Payton Thorne to drop back more in order to make up for the Spartans' non-existent run game (2.77 yards per rush). While he's managed to make things happen as a scrambler, Thorne has averaged just 6.1 yards per attempt to go along with a 4:3 TD:INT ratio since Week 3.
Falling behind against the Buckeyes defensive line will only make these struggles worse; Ohio State has pressured quarterbacks on 43.5 percent of dropbacks, which ranks fifth in the nation.
Covering a spread this large will still require Ohio State to hit on some big scoring plays. But, this shouldn't be an issue as the Buckeyes have generated a conference-best 37 plays of 20 yards or more while Michigan State has surrendered 85 plays of 10-plus yards through five games. The Buckeyes have just too many ways to generate explosive plays on offense, and, while the Spartans have hit some big plays in the passing game this season, this won't be nearly enough to keep the score from getting out of hand early in this one.
The Spartans' lack of consistency on offense (42.4 percent success rate) compounded with the Buckeyes' improved defense (31.8 percent success rate allowed) should also eliminate any chance for a backdoor cover in this one.
Final Score Prediction: Ohio State 59, Michigan State 7
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