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Michigan State Spartans Betting – Michigan State Spartans 2011 College Football Preview

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/2/2011 11:17:58 AM
michigan state spartans betting

MLB baseball betting pundits focus on the Detroit Tigers in the state of Michigan, but entering the 2010 season, they would not have tabbed Michigan State to win 11 games and make a January bowl of appreciable stature. The fact that the Spartans did the deed shows that positive change could be afoot in the Big Ten.

Kirk Cousins was a relatively unheralded quarterback before among Big Ten quarterbacks coming into 2010, but now he’s the unquestioned leader of the Spartans’ offense entering his senior season. Cousins threw for 2,825 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and should put up even bigger numbers in 2011. He can expect to put up big numbers because virtually all of his targets from 2010 return. Keshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningam, and Keith Nichol all saw significant playing time in 2010. Cunningham caught nine touchdowns and is the biggest returning threat. Brian Linthicum takes over at tight end but even he caught 18 passes last season in a reserve role.

For all of the emphasis on the improved passing game, however, Michigan State will still earn its wins on the back of its running game. The Spartans certainly have the horses for it. All six of the teams leading rushers from a year ago return, giving them the opportunity to platoon their backs and keep them all fresh. Edwin Baker rushed for 1201 yards and 13 touchdowns while Le’Veon Bell added 605 yards and another 8 touchdowns. Baker is the powerful, between the tackles runner while Bell is the homerun threat. The challenge in establishing the running game will come in replacing three of five offensive line starters. Only guards Chris McDonald and Joel Foreman return.

The picture on defense is a bit murkier for head coach Mark Dantonio. Whereas the offense returns its key pieces and has replacements to make on the line, the defense is loses its four unquestioned leaders but should be solid along the line. Defensive tackles Jerel Worthy and Kevin Pickelman are a load inside. Worthy led the team in sacks last season which is rare for a defensive tackle. Tyler Hoover is an enormous defensive end. He’s tough against the run and is very difficult to move from his gap on the line.

The biggest losses for the Spartans’ defense are in the back seven. Linebackers Greg Jones and Eric Gordon led the team in tackles and were the unquestioned leaders of a very good defense. With both now gone, only junior linebacker Chris Norman returns. Max Bullough will take over in the middle and, like, Jones, he’s a big, physical linebacker with an NFL body. Finding a replacement for Gordon on the outside will be difficult. In the secondary, Johnny Adams returns after an excellent sophomore season in which he picked off three passes and broke up seven more. Trenton Robinson returns as free safety and is the team’s leading returning tackler. He also picked off four passes.  As long as the pass rush up front is consistent, the secondary should be solid again in 2011. A sports bet should not anticipate a drop-off at Michigan State. The Spartans seem to be in the process of changing their identity as underachievers.

The Spartans’ schedule, such an asset in 2010, will be significantly tougher in 2011. After tune-ups against Youngstown State and Florida Atlantic, they travel to face Notre Dame in South Bend. October features games at Ohio State, home against rival Michigan, home against Wisconsin, and at Nebraska. Few teams will face a more difficult month of October. November will be kinder as the Spartans draw Minnesota and Indiana at home and only travel to a rebuilding Iowa and Northwestern.

Sports betting experts should trust that Michigan State, even against a loaded schedule, can win 10 games and maintain its place as a factor in the Big Ten.

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