When the 2021 college football season got underway, the Michigan State Spartans were not viewed as Big Ten title contenders, let alone national championship contenders. But after securing a big win over their hated rivals, the Michigan Wolverines, last weekend, it is starting to look like that perception changing — at least as far as the rankings are concerned.
The Spartans improved to No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 6 in the Coaches Poll, and when the first College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings were released they were No. 3. As for their futures odds, those have improved throughout the season. Following the win over Michigan, bettors could get the Spartans to win the national championship for as low as +3000 and as high as +8000:
|Michigan State Odds||FanDuel||DraftKings||BetMGM||Caesars|
|Make Playoffs (Yes/No)||+1040/-2000||+800/-1400|
Michigan State Has Come A Long Way This Season
Seem kind of low for a team currently in a position to make the playoffs? Yeah, maybe.
It helps to keep two things in mind — how far the team has come and how far it still must go. Since the end of the 2020 season, the odds for the 2021 national championship have fluctuated wildly for the Spartans. According to SportsOddsHistory.com, they were as high as +200,000 in late August. They did not get below +10,000 until Week Five and have hovered around +5000 for the last few weeks.
The improvement is a bit more dramatic in the Spartans’ conference odds. In the preseason, their odds of winning the Big Ten stood at +10,000, which translates to a 0.99% chance. According to their current odds, they now have between a 9.09% and 11.11% chance of winning the conference.
Still A Long Way To Go
While they have come a long way since the start of the season, the odds for the Spartans are still high because of the obstacles to come. Their body of work has earned them the right to be ranked as high as they are today, but bettors looking to put money down on the national championship are not concerned with where a team is in Week 10.
It is how they end the season that counts. With games against Purdue, Maryland, Ohio State, and Penn State on deck, the Spartans are not a lock to remain undefeated until the end of the regular season. They are 2.5-point favorites against Purdue this weekend. They will have better odds against Maryland but will undoubtedly be underdogs against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions will not make it easy, either.
Lose one of those games, and they are out of the conference championship picture and the national title picture. There is a good chance they lose at least one (Ohio State), maybe more (Penn State, Purdue).
So, how should you bet?
That depends on how much risk you are willing to take on. A loss to Ohio State or anyone else will knock them out of the top four. The Spartans will probably at least go 3-1 down the stretch, but that will not be enough to make the playoffs. If they beat Ohio State, they’ll still need to beat Alabama to make the title game and then Georgia.
It does not look good.
But at FanDuel’s price of +8000, it may be worth skipping your morning latte for a couple of days, but just a couple. Betting $10 could win $800, which could buy quite a few lattes.