Saturday, December 5, 2020, Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, Michigan, noon ET
Buckeyes at Spartans Betting Preview: Buckeyes (-21.5), Spartans (+21.5)
Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Preview
After canceling its game last week at Illinois, No. 4 Ohio State (4-0, 4-0 Big Ten) is unsure of playing this week because of a COVID-19 outbreak of unknown extent among the players, coaches and support staff, including coach Ryan Day.
The Buckeyes need to play the next two weeks to meet the minimum six games to be eligible for the conference title game. Their game November 14 at Maryland was canceled because of numerous positive tests for coronavirus in the Terrapins’ program. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Michigan on December 12.
Ohio State announced that organized team activities resumed Tuesday afternoon “in preparation for its game Saturday.” The results of daily COVID testing, however, will determine whether the Buckeyes will play or pause again.
Day said at a press conference last weekend that if the team gets one full practice it should be ready.
“I think you could get it done by practicing Thursday, making sure you have a good hard practice Thursday, and then a walk-through on Friday and play on Saturday,” Day said. “But we’ll just have to take it day by day and see how it goes.”
There has been no further media availability for Day or the team.
Day is in quarantining and will not coach Saturday. Associate head coach and defensive line coach Larry Johnson will be the interim head coach in his absence, but Michigan State coach Mel Tucker doesn’t see a disadvantage for the Buckeyes.
“They’ve got a good staff over there, a great staff, and they’ve got great players,” Tucker said. “So, I would imagine that they’re going to be probably a better version of what we’ve seen on film.”
Editors Note: As of 12/5/20, the Ohio State-Michigan State matchup is set to be played.
Michigan State Spartans Betting Preview
Michigan State (2-3, 2-3 Big Ten) also had its game against Maryland canceled for COVID issues, but the Spartans returned last week to upset unbeaten Northwestern 29-20. They hope to carry that momentum into the meeting with the Buckeyes.
The Spartans’ anemic run game, which gained 60 or fewer yards in each of their losses, had 195 yards on 47 carries (4.1 average) against the Wildcats. Connor Heyward led with 96 yards on 24 attempts. He is the brother of former Ohio State and current Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward.
Quarterback Rocky Lombardi, however, completed only 11 of 27 passes for a modest 167 yards, but two completions did go for touchdowns. One was a 75-yard strike to Jalen Nailor, the longest completion and longest reception in the respective players’ careers.
Lombardi also rushed for a career-high 65 yards.
Defensively, the Spartans came up with four takeaways from the Wildcats with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The last fumble recovery came in the end zone as the Wildcats were in the process of trying a desperation lateral play as time ran out.
Linebacker Antjuan Simmons logged 13 tackles, one shy of his single-game best recorded earlier this season in a loss to Indiana.
Buckeyes at Spartans Betting Pick for December 5, 2020
The Buckeyes lead the series 33-15, and that includes a 17-5 record in East Lansing, where the Spartans haven’t won since 1999. Nevertheless, the Spartans have three wins over the Buckeyes since 2011, the most of any Big Ten team against the Buckeyes. That includes a 34-24 win over the Buckeyes in the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game that snapped Ohio State’s school-record winning streak at 24 games and sent the Spartans to the Rose Bowl.
Buckeyes at Spartans Betting Pick:
Buckeyes 45, Spartans 17
Buckeyes at Spartans Best Bet for December 5, 2020
The Spartans are going to have to crank up an offense that has yet to reach the 30-point level to have a shot against the Buckeyes. Their 29-20 upset of Northwestern last week was the Spartans’ season high. Ohio State’s season low is a 38-25 win at Penn State.
Buckeyes at Spartans Best Bet: OVER 59.5