Top sportsbooks have released their NCAAF odds for this week’s college football action. Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in: Indiana vs. Michigan State and Colorado vs. Washington.
For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for both games at one of our best sportsbooks.
Indiana Hoosiers vs. Michigan State Spartans
Saturday, November 19, 2022 – 12:00 PM EST at Spartan Stadium
As of early this week, the Spartans are favored by just over double digits. I find this spread odd because the Spartans have not won a Big Ten game by more than eight points.
Most recently, they beat Rutgers by six. They also lost at Maryland (by two touchdowns, in fact) and they beat Wisconsin by six points in double overtime.
Despite getting to face several of the Big Ten's more beatable teams, they either lost or allowed the opponent to remain competitive.
Connor Bazelak's Situation
For Indiana, Connor Bazelak has been the starting quarterback throughout the season. His struggles with efficiency and interceptions and his general inconsistency have rendered his starting job insecure, though.
Nevertheless, Bazelak's outlook is promising given Michigan State's 96th-ranked pass defense. The Spartans' secondary has struggled throughout the season to contain opposing quarterbacks.
Guys like Washington's Michael Penix and even Minnesota's Tanner Morgan have been the object of raving hype from national media members after they looked so strong against the Spartans.
Indiana's Quarterback Controversy
It seems doubtful that Bazelak will remain his team's starting quarterback. Everything is unofficial, but it seems obvious that Dexter Williams II offers the Hoosier offense a greater chance to succeed.
Williams provided this spark when he was substituted in for Bazelak against Ohio State last week. Bazelak's short leash (he was benched after three three-and-outs to start the game) indicates that Williams was already close to becoming the starting quarterback.
Williams managed to drive his team downfield, to lead Indiana to score some points, and to do these things while making impressive plays, especially in ways that Bazelak is incapable of achieving.
Dexter Williams's Strengths
While Bazelak is a statue who makes his pass protection unit look as bad as it can look, Williams is highly mobile.
In addition to having a strong arm, Williams poses a threat with his legs. Evidence of his strong arm is in his 49-yard completion in the first quarter. As for his mobility, he ran for 46 yards on 16 attempts. He accomplished his rushing output primarily by scrambling.
As he practices more going forward, and, as a mere sophomore, learns more of the playbook, he'll surely get the benefit of more plays being designed for him.
Spartans' Defense Against Mobile QBs
Another benefit of Williams starting this week would come from his mobility especially because Michigan State struggles to defend mobile quarterbacks. This has been a problem throughout the season.
Even in the team's season opener, Michigan State allowed Western Michigan's quarterback to achieve what remains, by a margin of 39 yards, his highest rushing gain of the season.
More recently, Michigan's quarterback gained his second-highest rushing output of the season against the Spartans.
Running the Ball
A Spartans' defense that just allowed 224 rushing yards to Rutgers remains vulnerable against the Hoosiers' rush attack in general.
In addition to Williams, hopefully, the Hoosiers can replicate Rutgers' success by committee.
Excluding overtime, the Spartans have yet to exceed 28 points against a Power Five opponent this season.
Frequently unaided by his team's rush attack, quarterback Payton Thorne does a lot of short passing via the RPO, play-action, and the like.
While trying to grind his way downfield, Thorne will rely especially on his wide receivers, which arguably form the strength of the offense.
Hoosiers' Defensive Backs
Problematically, though, Indiana's best players are arguably its cornerbacks.
Tiawan Mullen and Jaylin Williams are both veterans with decorated histories, Mullen being a former first-team All-American and Williams a former All-Big Ten second-teamer who leads his program in interceptions.
Both are sufficiently strong in pass coverage to limit Michigan State's top two wide receivers. With Mullen and Williams, scoring will be particularly hard for the Spartans.
Colorado Buffaloes vs. Washington Huskies
Saturday, November 19, 2022 - 09:00 PM EST at Husky Stadium
This is a classic betting situation. Washington is just coming off a monumental win over rival Oregon, the previously undefeated Ducks.
How are the Huskies going to be excited to prepare for lowly Colorado and to beat the Buffaloes by enough points to cover this huge spread? Out of principle, this is a good spot to take the underdog in for your NCAAF picks.