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How To Bet On Michigan State Spartans – Offensive Issues Hold Spartans Back In 2012

Posted by Blake Frazier on 7/17/2012 4:59:31 PM

For online betting sharps, Michigan State has crept onto the national scene in college football and have been a threat to make it to the Rose Bowl in recent years, but they have too many questions to answer on offense, particularly at the skill positions, to come out on top in the Big Ten this season.

Head Coach: Mark Dantonio (6th year)
Offensive Coordinator: Dan Roushar
Defensive Coordinator: Pat Narduzzi
Stadium: Spartan Stadium, East Lansing, MI
Capacity: 75,005
National Championships: 6

Offense

The Spartans’ offense wasn’t pretty en route to an 11-3 record last season, capped by a 33-30 triple-overtime win in the Outback Bowl over Georgia, but they knew that they had a quarterback in Kirk Cousins that could come up with a big play if necessary. Now, Michigan State heads into the Andrew Maxwell era and he’ll have big shoes to fill as Cousins won the most games in the history of the program. The Spartans lost three receivers and two tight ends as well, which means there will be lots of work for tailback Le’Veon Bell, especially with Edwin Baker gone. The Michigan State offense was 78th on the ground last season, but they should be more focused on the run heading into the 2012 campaign.

Maxwell got some garbage-time reps in 2011, so don’t expect him to be a world-beater just yet. At least the Spartans have four returning starters back from one of the nation’s top lines.

Grade: C

Defense

Michigan State’s defense was nasty in 2011, coming in sixth in total defense and 10th in points allowed, and college football betting sharps could see a performance that was just as good this season as there are eight starters back on that side of the ball, and six of them were named to last year’s all-conference team. All three starting linebackers are back, as well as three from the secondary and two up front, and they would like to erase two poor efforts at Notre Dame and against Wisconsin from last season. The firepower is there, but they’ll have to deal with the pressure of carrying the team until the defense gets on track.

The biggest hole to fill comes at free safety, where the Spartans have to replace Trenton Robinson, who led the team in tackles last season. Dana Dixon has pole position on filling that void, but Robinson was a team leader and he’ll be missed.

Grade: A

Special Teams

The kicking games should be fine as Dan Conroy hit 74% of his field-goal attempts and that type of accuracy can come in handy in the Big Ten, where points are at a premium and it should be a tight race all the way to the end. Mike Sadler is back to punt, but he’ll have to improve as the Spartans were 91st in net punting.

The return teams need to be replenished, but the Spartans could find it difficult as most of their receivers will be called on to have more responsibility in the offense. This could be a trouble area for Michigan State, who ranked in the top 33 in both kickoff and punt returns.

Grade: C+

Prediction

College football betting odds have the Spartans at +800 to win the Big Ten and+7500 to win the national title, which would be their first since 1966, but Michigan State have too many questions on offense to be a serious candidate to win it all. There are high hopes for Maxwell, who is a junior, but you never know how a player is going to respond to being the guy, and Maxwell has to get over that hump. A lack of weapons in the passing game isn’t going to help.

A first-week meeting with Boise State should be a good test for the Michigan State offense, and the defense should be, by far, the strongest part of the team for the majority of the season. Maxwell has to simply avoid mistakes in order to give the Spartans a chance to win, but can he do that? Also, will the Spartans be able to go down the field? The offense prevents Michigan State from being a good sports betting pick in 2012.

2012 Schedule

August 31st – vs. Boise State (8:00 PM ET)
September 8th – at Central Michigan (3:30 PM ET)
September 15th – vs. Notre Dame (8:00 PM ET)
September 22nd – vs. Eastern Michigan (TBA)
September 29th – vs. Ohio State (TBA)
October 6th – at Indiana (TBA)
October 13th – vs. Iowa (12:00 PM ET)
October 20th- at Michigan (TBA)
October 27th – at Wisconsin (3:30 PM ET)
November 3rd – vs. Nebraska (TBA)
November 17th – vs. Northwestern (TBA)
November 24th – at Minnesota (TBA)

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