The Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the Michigan State Spartans. Check out our college football odds series for our Minnesota Michigan State prediction and pick.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers and Michigan State Spartans are coming off two very different performances in Week 3. As they prepare for a Week 4 clash and the opening game of their respective Big Ten seasons, it is fascinating to see how the public and the betting markets are reacting to their bodies of work. It will be even more interesting to see how they perform against each other, in a contest which should tell us a lot about how good they can be in 2022.

Minnesota obliterated Colorado and looked fantastic. The Gophers won 49-7 and were able to rest their starters for this game in the second half. Good teams generally do that in nonconference games versus inferior opponents, and so it’s natural and logical to elevate Minnesota in one’s estimation in response to that game. However, we have to step back and acknowledge that Colorado is uniquely and severely awful. The Buffaloes have one of the worst teams in college football. Head coach Karl Dorrell is legitimately on the hot seat, with the Colorado fan base up in arms about the state of their crumbling program. How much should we assign to that Minnesota romp over Ralphie? It’s hard to say, and it’s part of why this game against Michigan State is so interesting.

Flip to the other side and consider Michigan State. The Spartans were drubbed by Washington in Week 3. The final score said 39-28 for the Huskies, but the game was 39-14 midway through the second half and wasn’t nearly as close as the final 11-point margin might suggest. Michigan State got big-boyed by Washington, which made an early-season statement under new head coach Kalen DeBoer.

One interesting point about DeBoer and Washington quarterback Michael Penix: They were both part of the 2020 Indiana Hoosiers and had familiarity with Michigan State in the Big Ten. They worked well together at Indiana and obviously had no problem reuniting at Washington. That was a uniquely bad matchup for Michigan State, in the sense that other coach-QB combinations might not have given the Spartans’ wobbly secondary such a tough time.

The bigger point with Michigan State is that Washington — which wasn’t really discussed much in preseason conversations about potential Pac-12 championship contenders — might actually be good enough to win the Pac-12 based on DeBoer’s surprising offseason turnaround. If Washington really is that good, Michigan State’s loss isn’t an indictment of the Spartans. That adds to the intrigue of this game against Minnesota.

Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Minnesota-Michigan State College Football Odds,.

College Football Odds: Minnesota-Michigan State Odds

Minnesota Golden Gophers: -3 (-105)

Michigan State Spartans: +3 (-115)

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Over: 50.5 (-110)

Under: 50.5 (-110)

Why Minnesota Could Cover the Spread

The Golden Gophers are strong and physical. In that sense, they are much like the Washington team which just handled Michigan State. Minnesota will not get overpowered at the line of scrimmage, and if a Michigan State opponent can hold its own in the trenches, there’s a very good chance that team will win.

Why Michigan State Could Cover the Spread

The Spartans’ secondary is their biggest weakness as a position group, but Minnesota and quarterback Tanner Morgan have not shown an ability to hurt opposing defenses with a consistent and potent downfield passing attack. Minnesota’s offense is too run-heavy. This is the right matchup for Michigan State’s defense. Pass-first teams give MSU problems. Minnesota is not such a team.

Final Minnesota-Michigan State Prediction & Pick

The lack of a Minnesota passing game will tip this contest in Sparty’s direction.

Final Minnesota Michigan State Prediction & Pick: Michigan State +3