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Michigan State Alabama Spread and Capital One Bowl Predictions

The Capital One Bowl in Orlando, FL features the number 7-ranked Michigan State Spartans (11-1) of the Big 10 led by Coach Mark Dantonio taking on the defending National Champion and number 15- ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (9-3) led by Coach Nick Saban out of the SEC this Saturday (1:00 pm EDT) . Michigan State comes into the game with a three-game winning streak including a 28-22 victory at Penn State in their last game on November 27. Alabama lost a heart breaker 28-27 to Auburn in the Iron Bowl their last time out on November 26. The two head coaches know each other very well as Dantonio served an assistant coach under Saban from 1995-1999 when Saban was the head coach at Michigan State.

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Michigan State features a balanced offensive attack with junior quarterback Kirk Cousins at the controls. Cousins has been an efficient passer this season throwing for over 2,700 yards with a 67.5 completion percentage for an offense that has averaged 31.3 points per contest which ranks as the 37th best total in the nation. Leading receiver B.J. Cunningham will be out of the game after breaking his foot in practice, so the focus may shift to the running game and Edwin Baker, who led the Spartans and ranked third in the Big 10 with 1,187 rushing yards. Defensively the Spartans have allowed 20.1 points per game, ranking 25th in the nation, and rank 19th against the run with an average of 114 YPG allowed.

Alabama boasts the top defense in the rugged SEC, allowing 14.1 PPG and 296 YPG during the regular season, the 5th and 6th best totals in the nation. The Crimson Tide offense, led by senior quarterback Greg McElroy and 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, has been explosive averaging 34.6 PPG and 436.2 YPG, good for the 20th and 26th best totals in the country. McElroy takes care of the football as well, throwing only 5 interceptions during the season for an offense that turned the ball over an SEC-low 14 times all season.

The Spartans are 5-1 ATS against a team with a winning record, but 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog. Alabama is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games. The over is 49-19-2 in Michigan State’s last 63 games as an underdog and the under is 5-2 in their last 7 games overall. The under is 4-0 in Alabama’s last 4 games against a team with a winning record and the over is 4-0 in the Crimson Tide’s last 4 bowl games.

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Michigan State vs. Alabama Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:

Michigan State Spartans +9.5
@ Alabama Crimson Tide -9.5

Game Total:

Over: 52 (110)
Under: 52 (110)

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Michigan State vs. Alabama Prediction for Capital One Bowl:

Spread Prediction (Top Play) – Michigan State is missing their top receiver on offense, which will definitely hurt their offensive balance and takes a key playmaker out of the equation against an extremely athletic defense for Alabama. Two of the Crimson Tide’s three losses came by four points total, so Alabama is thisclose to being a BCS-caliber team. Michigan State has had a great season under Dantonio, but the athleticism of Alabama will be too much for the Spartans to contend with in this game.

PREDICTION (TOP PLAY) – Alabama -9.5

Over/Under Prediction – Both teams run the ball effectively and play tough run defense, and with the Spartans top receiving threat out this could be a ball-control type of a game. Points will be tough to come by for the Spartans with much of their offensive flexibility taken away and the scoring could be very one-sided in favor of Alabama.

PREDICTION – Under 52

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