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Posted on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

Michigan football team opens as 6-point favorite against Michigan State

By Kyle Meinke

The Michigan football team has lost four games in a row to Michigan State, matching a record since the Spartans joined the Big Ten in 1953.

One notable bookmaker is projecting that skid to end this year.

The Golden Nugget sportsbook in Las Vegas released its first batch of lines for the upcoming college football season, and it includes Michigan listed as a six-point favorite against the Spartans on Oct. 20.


Michigan State's defense has limited Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson's production in each of the past two seasons. He had 165 total yards (42 rushing) in a 28-14 loss last season and 301 (86 rushing) in a 34-17 loss at Michigan Stadium in 2010 (above). file photo

The game will be played in Ann Arbor, which gives the Wolverines an edge. They also return quarterback Denard Robinson and tailback Fitz Toussaint, the two prongs of Michigan's prolific rushing game last year, and that always is an important aspect of the game.

The team with the most rushing yards has won 39 of the past 42 games in the series.

Michigan also returns Robinson, who is entering his third season as starter and is a veteran of the rivalry. Michigan State will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, Andrew Maxwell.

But, the Spartans also return several notable players to the nation's No. 6 overall defense. That could be the Big Ten's best unit -- one that already has forced Robinson into two of his worst performances.

It knocked Robinson out of last year's game.

Michigan State was the more physical team last year, especially in the trenches, and that was against a Michigan team that featured stud linemen such as Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen and David Molk. Those guys are all gone.

So, it's an interesting game that is brimming with storylines and subplots -- and it likely will have a major impact on the Legends Division race, which adds to the intrigue.

Who you got? Vote in our poll to the right.

My take: It's a toss-up straight up, although I'd probably go with Michigan because of the home factor, as well as Robinson's experience in the game. But it's close.

Against the spread, there's no question Michigan State is the better bet. It's not even close.

There are some other interesting spreads as well, with Michigan a one-point underdog at Notre Dame and a two-point favorite at Nebraska and Ohio State. Check out the rest of the lines here.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Guy Burns

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:40 p.m.

MSU's defense is much stronger than UofMs. And offensively, Denard is a senior who's never proven himself to be a good QB against good competition, and especially not vs. MSU. How do we know a 4th year junior QB in Maxwell isn't better already? UofM has been favored for the last 4 years as well. I wish I lived in Vegas. Blue Nation sways the line's so much because they're so dumb. MSU should be the 6 pt favorite. I'd love to take this bet.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 1:18 a.m.

Brady will have his team ready for MSU this year. Count on it. I think Michigan wins by 9, probably more. The crowd will be jacked up. Four years of frustration will be released all over the green and white.

Guy Burns

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:43 p.m.

You forgot to look at something important. Players, talent and depth. MSU is near elite on D, not in the Big Ten, but in the country. They also return more experience at O-line and RB than UofM, and equal at WR. What is so amusing is that Denard is still what all this relies on, the 4-time september heisman who can't beat anybody good, still seriously overrated after 3 years of proving he's overrated.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

Although I'm a diehard Mich. fan it's possible that state could win one more but I'm not giving them, state much odds after the 2012 season. dantonio is a decent coach in my opinion but then again so is Coach Brady Hoke. You put these schools up against each other on the recruiting trail and Michigan beats state for the most part, it's the way of things. RR was a failed experiment by an AD that just didn't get it in terms of what works for Mich. Dave Brandon and Coach Hoke get it. Lessons learned, sorry mich. state.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

Andrew Maxwell is a big and brainy QB and will pick apart the wolver-weeny secondary, which will open up the run game. D-Rob will get his yards, but he won't see the end zone more than once. The Spartan D will make sure he thinks twice before running the ball and force him into turnover city when he tries to throw (let's be real people, he can't much as I like the guy, and I do, he's just not that good through the air.) Spartans will win the physical battles, wearing down the maize and blue on their home turf (that MSU're welcome!) Go ahead and reference William Gholston and the Spartans playing dirty...they did...but that was then...this is now...and we're a GREEN...CLEAN...Wolver-weeny crushing machine! BOOM! GO STATE!


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 5:52 p.m.

I've got to give it to you, state beat the pants off of us. No complaining from me about dirty play and after years of being manhandled by the Wolves state was due for some kind of reprieve from the beatings and you've had it.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 3:44 p.m.

The winner will win by at least a touchdown. Neither coach is going to try to protect a modest lead in the 4th quarter. One team or the other will get burned gambling because they are tied or behind. My money is on MIchigan. Denard's passing will have improved enough to make them pay for the field position the penalties for their thuggery will produce. Michigan by 10.

John Campbell

Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Article doesn't bother to mention Alabama is favored by 11 or 12...


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 8:42 a.m.

We have Denard, asuming Alabama doesn't break him in Half.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 1:23 a.m.

I think Denard will manage a close game against Bama. I don't think we'll win but crazier things have happened. Betting against a ranked team with a senior starting QB is risky business, especially when you're giving up 12 points. Just my opinion...


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 3:19 a.m.

Im sure lots of people thought UM -4 in 2009, -5 in 2010 and +2 last year all looked good, too. How did that work out?


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:31 a.m.

So how many of us have put our money where our mouth is? Who's taking Michigan and giving 6 pts for any substantial sum of money? I sure haven't and I suspect there aren't a lot of takers out there. But it makes for good smack talk.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:13 a.m.

Is this the same notable bookmaker that predicted a big win for Michigan over App State a few years back?


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 1:55 a.m.

Oh, for Pete's sake ... in other news Michigan is a 6.5 point favorite over a resurgent Northwestern team in the 2019 game. We'll know a lot more about the Michigan team after the Alabama game (trial by fire) and the Notre Dame. I'm assuming we beat Air Force and Massachusetts. For what it's worth I would not discount Michigan State. A strong defense and a decent QB -- no idea how Maxwell will fare, but assuming he's at least decent -- the game in Ann Arbor should be a good one. Michigan is going to face a FAR better defense in Alabama than MSU. If they find a way to at least play competitive against that 'Bama defense, then MSU had better watch out.

Guy Burns

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

I wonder if Georgia and Wisconsin would agree with you that Alabama is a FAR better D? I think you need to go check the stat sheet on MSU's last two games last year. They arn't just a decent defense. They're bordering on joining the national elite.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

I don't know. MSU does actually have a pretty darn good D, with a lot of starters returning. Plus they'll have the advantage of seeing how Michigan plays against the 'Bama D (and vice-versa). I expect that MSU will probably dominate the game defensively like they did last year. The question will be how well their new quarterback plays. If they can achieve some offense, I think they'll easily cover the 6 points and probably win. If Michigan can shut down their offense, then the 6 points will be close.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 12:18 a.m.

Michigan, like Notre Dame, is just sad. I mean, how long will it take for Michigan fans to figure out that their team doesn't matter? It's not like MSU matters either, but their fans, for the most part, at least realize it.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 5:42 p.m.

That's a sad commentary mm and sounds a bit ridiculous, you must not be a fan of college football to say such a thing. Of course both these schools and their teams matter and bring excitement to millions of fans.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 3:12 a.m.



Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 12:42 a.m.

dang...I keep hearing the Michigan fight song...

Steve McQueen

Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

Michigan 34 Greenies 13 Mark it Down. There is the threat.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

This is money....MSU will win by 10 or more! There is NO THREAT!


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

See there Tom, my one liner will be around long after yours is dismissed as pointless.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 6:01 p.m.

Tom, please come up with a better line. It sounds back woods. One liners only work for a week or two. That one liner didn't work when dantonio uttered it and less so now. Tom, I've got one for you that makes sense and I know you all love..... "Hail to the Victors Valiant".


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:06 p.m.

i'll bet he still can't figure out where the THREAT is!! GO BLUE!!!!!!


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 6:37 a.m.

Here's what ill bet on. After UM beats MSU we will never see Tom again.


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

It's June 11th, almost three months before the start of the season. A lot can and will happen between now and the October 20th home game vs. MSU. Pointless to speculate (but inevitable and fun too) at this point. One thing we can be sure of: Hoke, Borges and Mattison will be on the job, planning and preparing Team 133 for this game and this season. Go Blue, pound the Spartans back into their "traditional" obscurity. Show them "where the threat is."


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 11:02 p.m.

What was the spread at this time Mr. Reporter, sir? That would be interesting information.

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:10 p.m.

Well, Las Vegas wasn't built and became successful on dumb bets, looks good (they missed the Michigan notre dame game), but even Vegas losses once in a while. Still think the sparties don't flock to our football site to see what the best college football team in the nation is up too ? Check out the 'Vote Now', ninety-five little brother hits in less then three MgoBlueForTiM....America, and yes Vegas love Michigan football.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 8:50 a.m.

You do know that A2DotCom is a part of Mlive, and that is a whole state news paper? You do know that you can access the whole world from your parents basement, and that there is no actual travel needed to visit "Other Team Websites"? Just wondering, because that argument sounds silly to me.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

I have had season tickets on the 50 since before Yost. I taught Harry Kipke everything he knew. Fritz Crisler was a football bum before I had a few beers with him and taught him what I knew. Bennie Oosterbaan was my homeboy. I don't talk about Bump Elliott. I personally talked Canham into hiring Schembechler, AND I coached Schembechler on football. I was the one who poured drinks down Moeller's throat. Lloyd Carr didn't know nothing until I taught him. Rich Rodriguez hadn't heard of zone read until I mentioned it. I wet-nursed Brady Hoke before he was out of diapers.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

"our" football site? Terry - Have you ever attended a Michigan game in Ann Arbor? I actually had season tickets at the 40 yard line from 1980 to 1987. Almost most made me puke to go there! This "our" stuff is REALLY FUNNY! Where's the threat?

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

"loses'....darn spellchecker...


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10:08 p.m.

Holy Cow, as a Michigan fan let me say take Sparty and 6, what the hell are they thinking? M's Offensive and Defensive lines are depleted with little depth.

Blue Marker

Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 11:07 a.m.

@Commoncents, Absolutely not! I guess that was my point. Everyone is so sure how things are going to go. When the truth is none of us have a clue. I get it, its fun to speculate. But some just seem so sure.


Wed, Jun 13, 2012 : 2:16 a.m.

Blue - you're right but would you have ? Hey I say bring on the luck but I wouldn't bet hard earned money on my favorite team - it ruins the game for me

Blue Marker

Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

I doubt either of you would have picked Michigan to go 11-2 and win a BCS game last year.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

Wish I didnt agree, but I could never bet against Michigan


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 9:55 p.m.

I'll take State and 4


Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

HAHAHAHA! Really? Brady, is that you? Have you resorted to writing irrelevant, silly stories, to help with recruiting? I'm betting, that when both teams meet; they both will have at least two loses. Consequently, this game will have very little meaning (outside of in state recruiting, but everyone knows that Coach Dantonio, and Hoke find all their "Michigan men" in OHIO! LOL!)

Blue Marker

Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Check the ratings Bogie.....Brady doesn't need help in recruiting. Zing!

Terry Star21

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Well, give the ohio boys credit - they want the best, so they chose Michigan....can you blame them ?

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Jun 11, 2012 : 7:49 p.m.

"One notable bookmaker is projecting that skid to end this year." actually they aren't projecting anything about the outcome of the game. They are merely projecting the "magic number" that gets half the betting public on each side. They don't care who wins or by how much. They just charge a "handling fee" to the loser's to pass their losing bet to the winners.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 8:39 a.m.

Right on Craig. People have no idea what the spread means, or how to bet on a moneyline. This is a copy paste from the Yahoo NCAAF Odds website ".....The spread is not a static number, so you will notice line moves during the week. Team A may be favored by 3 points on Tuesday and by 4.5 points on Friday. This indicates more people are betting on them, so Las Vegas increases the underdog value hoping to encourage more wagers on the underdog."