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Rose Bowl Offers A Big Stage For Two Teams, But Especially Michigan State

Posted by Blake Frazier on 2/4/2014 5:34:02 AM

The Michigan State Spartans haven’t been in the Rose Bowl in 26 years. This is a program’s huge opportunity to make a bigger name for itself and move forward.

2014 Rose Bowl
Michigan State Spartans vs. Stanford Cardinal (In Pasadena, Calif.)
Wednesday, January 1
Sports betting line: Stanford -3.5

Why Michigan State Will Win

In a contest of online betting, the importance of defense is not to be dismissed, and Michigan State brings an excellent defense to the table. Linebacker Denicos Allen and cornerback Darqueze Dennard are two of the best players in all of college football at their respective positions on the field. Allen and Dennard shrink the field and force their opponents to make better decisions in order to beat them… or more precisely, their teammates. Quarterbacks need to attack the half of the field that Dennard doesn’t cover. Running backs need to make cuts and turns that will take Allen out of a given play or enable a blocker to get a better angle on Allen. Michigan State’s defense has been so consistently good that even against a powerful team such as Stanford, it has a good chance of holding up under pressure.

Why Stanford Will Win

When betting websites break down this contest, they’re going to give a good, long look at Michigan State’s offense and assess if it can really produce against Stanford’s defense. Cook is certainly a much better quarterback than he was a few months ago, but is he ready for the pressure and gap discipline Stanford manages to exhibit on defense? The Cardinal do not get caught out of position on defense very often, so in the face of Michigan State’s conventional and limited attack, Stanford’s combination of power and speed should be able to enjoy a lot of success. Linebackers Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy fly all over the field and make bone-crushing hits. They stuff opposing running backs and are more than adequate in pass coverage. Supported by a strong defensive line, Skov and Murphy are able to clean up so many messes and give Stanford’s defense a great deal of structural integrity. It is simply going to be hard for Michigan State’s offense to catch the Cardinal off guard. Michigan State will need to be tricky, and in the right situations, in order to find a few big plays and change the direction of the game in the Spartans’ favor. That’s going to be an enormously difficult task for the Big Ten champions as they stare down the Pac-12 titlists on the West Coast, in a place where Stanford feels very comfortable.

Who Will Win?

This is not likely to be a blowout, but the probable outcome is that Stanford will win simply because it does everything that Michigan State does, only a little bit better.

College Football Betting Pick: Stanford -3.5

If you want to choose a single, reliable source for all your college football betting needs this bowl season, make it this one.

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