The Michigan State Spartans almost certainly won’t have any problem beating the overmatched Utah State Aggies when the two school square off in their regular season in Lansing, Michigan opener on Friday. However, if you want to know whether the playoff-hopeful Spartans are a good pick to cover the chalk as three touchdown-plus home favorites, then let’s find out right now.
— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) August 26, 2018
🏈: Utah State Aggies at Michigan State Spartans
⏰: Fri. Aug 31, 2018, 7:00 PM ET
🏟️: Spartan Stadium-MI, East Lansing, MI
🎰: Michigan State Spartans -23½ -110 | U 51½ -110
The Utah State Aggies went 6-7 SU and ATS last season while averaging a stellar 33.0 points per game and allowing 26.9 points per game defensively. The Aggies went 3-4 ATS in seven road dates. Utah State has an experienced signal-caller returning in Jordan Love returning at quarterback, but they are inexperienced at the wide receiver position. Love started the final six games as a freshman and entrenched himself as the No. 1 signal-caller after passing for 1,631 yards and eight touchdowns while completing 55 percent of his attempts. The Aggies graduated their top running back, but five starters return on the offensive line. The Aggies lost two All-Conference defensive backs but have their leading tackler back in linebacker Suli Tamaivena and both of their starting defensive ends. Not to mention some young talent in the secondary.
Michigan State went 10-3 last season to record their sixth double-digit winning campaign in the last eights seasons. More importantly, the Spartans look like they’re going to be better than they were a year ago with quarterback Brian Lewerke having matured into a playmaker as opposed to a guy they just wanted to manage games not very long ago.
Running back LJ Scott is rock-solid, if not a legitimate superstar and the Spartans have a pair of experienced, 50-plus catch receivers in Darrell Stewart and Felton Davis. Michigan State averaged a decent 27.0 points per game but limited the opposition to just 20.0 points per game defensively while ranking seventh nationally in total defense and a stupendous second against the run. Michigan State has a special secondary with stars like Justin Layne and Josiah Scott looking like sure-fire future NFL performers.
The Spartans are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games and 6-1 SU in their last seven home dates. Utah State is just4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games and 9-21 ATS in their last 30 games overall. Still, though, I’m going to advise you to back the Aggies to at least cover the chalk in this matchup, seeing as how Michigan State has failed to cover the chalk in each of their last four games as a favorite of at least 20 points.
Utah State has lost 13 of its last 16 road dates, but the Spartans are just 2-2 ATS over their last four games and I think it’s going to take a couple of weeks before they really start rolling. I’m going with Utah State for the narrow ATS cover everyone!
Pick: Michigan State 38 Utah State 17