Saturday, November 28, 2020, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan, 3:30 p.m. ET
Wildcats at Spartans Betting Preview: Wildcats (-13.5), Spartans (+13.5)
No. 8 Northwestern Wildcats Betting Preview
No. 8 Northwestern looks to take one step closer to securing a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game when it travels to play Michigan State.
The Wildcats (5-0, 5-0) are coming off a monumental victory over Wisconsin last week. The win propelled Northwestern to the top of the Big Ten West Division and into the College Football Playoff picture.
The Wildcats’ road to this point has not been easy.
They played with a chip on their shoulders after Joey Galloway called the team a bunch of “Rece Davises” on television prior to the game against Wisconsin. Branding themselves the “Fightin’ Rece Davises,” Northwestern outplayed the Badgers, and proceeded to call out Galloway after the game.
“I think our guys ran with it and had a little bit of fun and enjoyed it,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said.
Peyton Ramsey, a graduate transfer from Indiana, has added stability and efficiency at the position after the Wildcats quarterbacks combined to have one of the worst passing attacks in college football last season.
He is completing 62 percent of his passes and has tossed eight touchdowns. While he is not blowing away defenses with his talent, his game-management skills and burgeoning connections with pass catchers have turned the Northwestern offense into an efficient force.
“Our wide receiver corps is at an all-time high right now and it’s also at an all-time high with Peyton,” wide receiver Kyric McGowan said. “We believe that he’s gonna put the ball in the right place and we just gotta trust that we’re gonna get in the right spot.”
Michigan State Spartans Betting Preview
While Northwestern is solidifying itself as a national contender, Michigan State and first-year coach Mel Tucker are looking to return to the heights of a few years back.
The Spartans (1-3, 1-3 Big Ten) notched their only win against Michigan on Halloween. After that win, Michigan State was blown out by Iowa and Indiana and had its game last week against Maryland canceled due to a COVID outbreak in College Park.
The Spartans go into this one unsettled at quarterback. Tucker did not name a starting quarterback this week, saying the competition is still open.
“We have to give our quarterback an opportunity to be successful,” Tucker said.
The battle is mainly between junior Rocky Lombardi and redshirt freshman Payton Thorne. Lombardi has started all four games this season but has struggled. If you take away the victory over Michigan, he has thrown seven interceptions and only three touchdowns.
Lombardi was benched midway through the second quarter against the Hoosiers two weeks ago in favor of Thorne. Thorne finished 10 of 20 passing for 110 yards.
Either one will be faced with a staunch challenge. Northwestern enters with the second-most efficient defense in the country.
Wildcats at Spartans Betting Prediction
The Wildcats are off to their best start overall since 2015 and best in Big Ten play since 1996. They have won three of the last four meetings with the Spartans and three in a row in East Lansing, but lost last year’s meeting 31-10 in Evanston.
Wildcats at Spartans Betting Pick:
Wildcats 24, Spartans 14
Wildcats at Spartans Best Bet
The Wildcats are getting the job done on defense, especially coming up big in the second half. The hold a 47-10 scoring advantage in the second half and have held their opponents scoreless in the second half in four of five games. The Spartans have averaged just 15.2 points a game in their four outings.
Wildcats at Spartans Best Bet: UNDER 42.5
–Field Level Media