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Michigan State vs. Miami Preview Article

VirginiaCavs

CTG Junior Moderator
Michigan State vs. Miami College Football Week 3 Picks and Odds Breakdown

Michigan State Spartans vs. Miami Hurricanes
Saturday, September 18, 2021 at noon ET (ABC) at Hard Rock Stadium in Coral Gables, Florida

The Odds


Early in the season, the odds remain very much a reflection of preseason expectations.

This fact helps explain why, after two weeks of play, the odds look so off for this game. After two games, it's apparent that Michigan State has not lived down to its low expectations. Likewise, Miami is failing yet again to live up to its expectations.

After coasting to a 7-7 second half, Michigan State did not cover the spread last week against lowly Youngstown State. The Spartans just cared about winning and they were up 35-7 at half.

They did, however, easily cover the season opener as they blew out favored Northwestern.

Meanwhile, Miami is 0-2 ATS after losing 48-14 to Alabama. Even failing to cover the spread against Alabama is never necessarily cause for alarm. But scraping by App State -- the Hurricanes, favored by 7.5, won on a last-minute field goal -- does inspire worry.

Michigan State's Offense

Heading into this season, expectations were low for the Spartan offense, which, in recent years, had cultivated a reputation for being slow, boring, grinding, and uneventful.

A quarterback controversy between two seemingly not very salivating candidates did not inspire any optimism.

But before the Spartans blasted Youngstown State with 35 first-half points in a game that one can't glean too much from, they amassed 38 points against Big Ten foe Northwestern, whose defense looked meaningfully more competent in Week 2 as it's always hard to ask a team to allow six points or fewer in a game even if the opponent is Indiana State. Alabama, for comparison's sake, allowed Mercer to score 14 points.

Run Game and Offensive Line Play

Tremendous areas of improvement for Michigan State are the related plays of the running backs and offensive line.

After ranking 121st in rush yards per game last year, the Spartans currently rank fourth in the category.

This is the massive sort of improvement that oddsmakers take a long time to account for because the odds adjust slowly to new realities.

While flourishing against Youngstown State is not impressive, Northwestern's defensive line had high hopes and that team's defense in general is always supposed to reload and be very good.

Something new for Michigan State is the level of depth on what, in recent years, had been a relatively small and injury-prone unit.

Currently, Michigan State is able to rotate quality blockers in so that they remain fresh.

The Spartans also show high quality in their group of running backs with Jordan Simmons averaging 6.2 YPG and Kenneth Walker 10.7.

They draw attention from opposing defenses to themselves, which gives quarterback Payton Thorne less defensively to deal with and less pressure to drive the team downfield. He hasn't had to do too much and this lack of onus has helped him throw five touchdowns to zero interceptions so far.

Miami's Run Defense

Quite fittingly for Michigan State, which, as I've explained, values its run game for multiple reasons, run defense was rightly perceived as a significant problem for Miami heading into this season.

Last year, the Hurricanes allowed 174 rush yards per game, which is the highest total under Manny Diaz.

Even viewed apart from the isolated catastrophes in which they allowed the opponent to amass literally hundreds of rushing yards, one could not call the Hurricane run defense competent.

Coaching changes, which may have a good effect long-term, often cause a short-term setback because of the adjustments that they require from players. During the offseason, Miami changed its defensive coaching staff in several respects that, including the play-calling, have yet to help.

Personnel-wise, there are issues. During the offseason, Miami lost two starters at defensive end who had done a great job of causing havoc in the backfield.

Moreover, Miami's returning linebackers do not seem to be of the same quality as the group that had annually sustained excellence before leaving for the NFL. In this case, experience is a bad thing because it means struggling players returning without other guys being good enough to take their spot on the depth chart and make a difference.

Miami's Offensive Problems

In order to bet on the favorite, one obviously must want that favorite to be strong enough offensively in order to win by enough points to cover the spread.

But the Hurricanes show a slew of problems on offense right now.

The tempo is slow, which points to a deeper lack of identity because Miami's tempo is supposed to be quick.

PFF grades also point to a low quality of run-blocking, yards after the catch, and wide receiver separation. One disappointing receiver is Mike Harley, who seems to be making a habit of slow season starts.

A Spartan defense with a lot of returning experience especially at defensive line and in the secondary will have an easier test on Saturday.

Best Bet: Spartans +6.5 at -113 with BetOnline
 

Trash TD

Active Member
Fully agree - the game is won in the trenches where Mich St has the advantage. Sparty run game has looked solid this year. Miami rush D certainly suspect and were terrible at times last year (see Clemson and UNC). Canes two games this season don’t inspire confidence for me on either side of the ball
 

s--k

CTG Underdog Guru
Tough game. All good points VC. I had no action on any Miami game this year so I don't know much about them, saw almost none of week 1 and had corner of eye attention week 2. I will definitely be watching this one whether I take somebody or not as it is a pretty appealing game.

Looks like they have Amari Carter at the one LB/S "Striker" spot now and their depth chart has one Fr listed as a starter, Corey Flagg, who according to google search appears to have gotten high reviews this offseason after seeing the field as tr fr last year. I'll have to keep an eye out for #11 and see how he is. The other LBs don't seem to have much hype or expectations. But wonder if they get better production out of Carter and Flagg in his second season now?

If we go down the road of Michigan St is out matched athleticly, where is that going to be revealed? I assume we are talking lack of high quality athletes on the MSU D?
 

2daBank

VC's Valentine
MSU are a poor buy high team right now

Again, curious on the trenches but they are so overly matched athletically in this one

not sure I see myself playing it either way I just have a real problem w idea of playing sparty catching less than I did with a app st team I like better than them. Blowing out NW didn’t impress me much as I’m super low on NW. I know last year sparty was really turnover prone, that would concern me against a team who puts a ton of focus on turning teams over. Don’t think I’m ready to be laying this many w canes, to your point it just comes down to thinking sparty overrated compared to what canes laid vs a solid appy st team.
 

brewers888

Chicken Little
If we are going to play this who has the better athletes point of view Miami should have beaten App State by 30. While Miami has athletes they don't play up to it due to inferior coaching. Not a fan of Mel Tucker either but he's Lombardi compared to Mandy.

I took the 7 when I saw it this morning but I would be lying if I said I was confident in this game. Still don't know what to think of Michigan State after they beat two bad teams but I know Miami isn't good.
 

2daBank

VC's Valentine
Pointwise agrees with you. Their PR for App St is 47 and Mich St is 45, but pretty similar. Line opened at 7 this week and has been bet down to 6.5. Miami opened like 8? vs App St?

I dunno if canes opened at 8 last week and got hit to -9 right away or opened at 9 then came down to 8 then closing I think 7.5? I forget. I agree with those PR’s for most part, off top my head think I would make app st -3ish vs sparty on a neutral. Which obviously a bit a head stretcher to me that sparty got taken below a td. I suppose app st playing them so close could have effected? Sticking to my story that less than 7 feels like the value on canes but again not real interested in laying it.
 

KJ

KJ is my name, naps are my game.
I dunno if canes opened at 8 last week and got hit to -9 right away or opened at 9 then came down to 8 then closing I think 7.5? I forget. I agree with those PR’s for most part, off top my head think I would make app st -3ish vs sparty on a neutral. Which obviously a bit a head stretcher to me that sparty got taken below a td. I suppose app st playing them so close could have effected? Sticking to my story that less than 7 feels like the value on canes but again not real interested in laying it.
Difference between 7.5 and 9.5 is one of the most nominal things in football wagering. Virtually the same
 

survive&advance

Well-Known Member
If we are going to play this who has the better athletes point of view Miami should have beaten App State by 30. While Miami has athletes they don't play up to it due to inferior coaching. Not a fan of Mel Tucker either but he's Lombardi compared to Mandy.

I took the 7 when I saw it this morning but I would be lying if I said I was confident in this game. Still don't know what to think of Michigan State after they beat two bad teams but I know Miami isn't good.
Yeah if we’re just gonna cap off “athleticism” then Miami would be a top ten team every season lol. They’ve lost to plenty of teams under Diaz with far inferior athletes, to your point
 

KJ

KJ is my name, naps are my game.
Yeah if we’re just gonna cap off “athleticism” then Miami would be a top ten team every season lol. They’ve lost to plenty of teams under Diaz with far inferior athletes, to your point
I don't actually cap off athleticism, I do however cap off my pre season belief that MSU were around 110th and will pay (again) to see them prove me wrong
 

survive&advance

Well-Known Member
I don't actually cap off athleticism, I do however cap off my pre season belief that MSU were around 110th and will pay (again) to see them prove me wrong
Fair enough. I recall you being all over NW in week 1, doesn’t seem like you’ve adjusted msu in your power rankings vs pre season (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I’ve moved them up quite a bit in mine
 

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