Tulsa (@15.0) vs Michigan State (@1.01)

Our Prediction:

Michigan State will win

Tulsa – Michigan State Match Prediction | 25-08-2019 19:00

If Lewerke is healthy and ready to make better decisions with the football, Michigan State will be in the Big Ten title picture and could be a sneaky dark horse playoff contender. The Michigan State Spartans won seven games last season, their second-lowest total since the 2010 season. Its about finding that consistency offensively for Sparty. Lewerke started last season off strong, but he then was battling a shoulder injury and became a turnover machine late in the season. The Michigan State Spartans have won eight of their last 11 home games. For me, the Spartans success will come down to how much Brian Lewerke has improved at quarterback. Michigan State will as usual live and die with its defense that was one of the top units in the Big Ten last year and should remain that way with Joe Bachie, Kenny Willekes and Josiah Scott all returning, three players who will be in the conversation for award lists at the end of the year.

Ill put a little trust in them to win going away in their opener. Normally, I dont like swallowing this many points for a team with an inept offense, which was undoubtedly the case with Michigan State last year. Tulsa has some strengths, but they also have a lot of flaws, so Ill look for MSU to cover. But I like how the Spartans look this year. I will admit to taking a slight risk with this pick.

Big 12

Regardless, Michigan State is going to dominate Tulsa in the trenches and when a team gets manhandled up front, it's usually an ugly 60 minutes of football.The Michigan State Spartans have seen a lot of games lately come down to the wire, but this should be a comfortable season opener for the home team. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane should be improved from a year ago, but I'm not sure that's saying much given their struggles.The Michigan State Spartans are solid defensively and have a chance to reach the Big Ten Title Game if they get improved quarterback play.

They have a quarterback in Brian Lewerke who has played well when he hasnt been bothered by nagging injuries. After the way MSU struggled to run the ball last season and given their lack of proven running backs on the roster, putting the ball in Lewerkes hands a little more may not be such a bad thing. They also have a nice collection of receivers who all have a distinct skillset.

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane have won a combined five games the last two years and havent gone three straight seasons without a bowl berth since 2000-02. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane havent won a road game since November of 2016. Tulsa has the potential to be a surprise this season and return to a bowl game for the first time since 2016. Defensively, Tulsa returns 11 of its top-12 tacklers from last year, including leading tackler in linebacker Cooper Edmiston and sack leader Trevis Gipson. The difference maker for Tulsa will come down to quarterback Zach Smith, a Baylor transfer who threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns in 19 games. Tulsa has the potential to break out of this funk theyve been in lately, as a running back duo of Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor is one of the better in the country, and they combined for 18 rushing touchdowns last season.

Penn State

I also have high hopes for the MSU defense against a Tulsa offense thats lacking answers to important questions right now. Admittedly, theres a slight leap of faith in thinking the Michigan State offense will be immediately improved following a shift in the scheme. But the Tulsa defense doesnt have many proven pass rushers, which will make them vulnerable against Lewerke and the passing game. To me, all of this adds up to a comfortable Michigan State win in which they cover the 22-point spread.

In other words, Tulsas strength in the backfield is likely to be crippled by the Spartans. Michigan State returns eight starters on its defense that was tops last year against the run. Against Tulsa, Lewerke can take his sweet time fine-tuning his game, as the defense should be able to take care of business on its side of the ball. Defense carried the Spartans in 2018, which was not much of a surprise because that has always been the case for Mark Dantonios East Lansing-based squad. So long as the defense remains just as sturdy as it was in years past, Michigans offense does not have to be spectacular for the team to progress. But even then, Michigan States offense that scored no more than 14 points six times last year was frustrating for the Spartans overall. If Brian Lewerke rediscovers his form in 2017 when he passed for 2,793 yards and 20 touchdowns, that should be enough for the Spartans.

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Wichita State has won nine of its last 10 meetings with Tulsa, covering the spread in five of the last seven encounters. The public betting is backing Wichita State, but I will take Tulsa with the points. 13, but Tulsa was a 12.5-point dog. Wichita State isnt 100 percent and the Shockers havent been playing their best in recent weeks. The Golden Hurricanes have been able to cover on the road more than they havent and that includes trips to Oklahoma State and Temple. Wichita State picked up a 72-69 win at Tulsa on Jan. I think asking for a 17-point win is a little much at the moment.