By Jordan Horrobin | | 6 mins
Michigan State vs Purdue Predictions, Picks & Betting Preview
With an epic second half and a running back performance for the ages, Michigan State shed its “little brother” role last week to take down Michigan in the rivalry’s first all-top-10 matchup since 1964.
As exciting as that surely was for the Spartans, they must turn their attention forward to Saturday’s road visit with unranked Purdue (3:30 p.m. ET kickoff at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana), which according to the latest college football lines, oddsmakers seem to believe has serious upset risk attached to it.
The unbeaten Spartans are favored by less than a field goal against the 5-3 Boilermakers, which may seem peculiar on the surface. We’ll provide the full breakdown and our college football picks for this matchup in the article below.
Odds are current as of publication. Betting sites may indicate odds changes closer to kickoff.
5 Keys to Michigan State vs Purdue
Mel Tucker brings the receipts: Facing unranked Purdue, after beating top-10 Michigan, is a matchup oozing with trap-game potential for Michigan State. But their head coach, Mel Tucker, knows his history - and he reminded reporters of it this week. Tucker noted that Purdue has more wins over top-five schools as an unranked team (16) than anyone else in NCAA history.
Boilermakers, or heartbreakers?: One such upset win for Purdue came just a few weeks ago, when the unranked Boilermakers knocked off then-No. 2 Iowa, 24-7, as 11-point underdogs. That’s exactly the type of fate Tucker knows his team must fight to avoid.
Kenneth for Heisman: What better way is there to make your case for the Heisman Trophy than putting up a five-touchdown game against your biggest rival? Kenneth Walker III did just that, stamping his status as one of college football’s bona-fide gamebreakers. Compared with 10 running backs who’ve been Heisman finalists since 2011, Walker ranks fourth in rush yards (1,194) and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns (14) through eight games.
Not the matchup they want: Frankly, Walker is good enough to be matchup-proof against any team in the nation. But against a Purdue defense that is only allowing 17.1 points per game (11th in NCAA), that rings even more true. The Boilermakers are particularly adept as a pass defense; they’re allowing 141.6 yards per game on the ground.
Nailor’s status uncertain: Michigan State is at risk of missing receiver Jalen Nailor (hand), who is currently listed as questionable. The junior, who leads the Spartans with six receiving touchdowns, left last week’s game early.
Michigan State vs. Purdue Weather Forecast
It’s November in the Midwest, which means temperatures in the 50s are a win. Expect low-50s with a 20% chance of precipitation in West Lafayette on Saturday afternoon.
Michigan State vs Purdue Moneyline
Michigan State’s 8-0 record is the best argument we can make for why they’re the right pick on the moneyline. They’ve won all four home games this year, and they’ve won all four road games. The challenge Purdue presents is that it has two straight-up wins as college football betting underdogs over the past four weeks.
Then again, Michigan State has three straight-up wins as the underdog this season. And if they keep winning, as we think they will here, they might not be underdogs again.
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Michigan State vs Purdue Point Spread
Wouldn’t you think the sportsbooks would give more than 2.5 points to the underdog Boilermakers? We think so, which is why we like the Spartans on the spread, too.
Michigan State has spent the entire season perplexing oddsmakers en route to a 6-0-2 record against the spread (Purdue is 4-4 ATS). In this matchup, we still don’t think oddsmakers have caught up to the talent the Spartans are displaying. You can get Michigan State -3 (-110) at DraftKings.
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Michigan State vs Purdue Totals
The point total has shifted up by two points since the start of the week, and it’s now settled at 54.5 on betting apps. Michigan State and Michigan smashed their total last week (hitting 70 on a 51-point line), but the Spartans had seen the under hit in four of five games before that.
Likewise, Purdue has seen a heavy trend in favor of the under this year: Seven of eight games. We can see this game taking shape as a grind-it-out battle, with the Spartans - and the under - coming away victorious. You can get Under 54.5 (-115) at FanDuel.
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