Michigan State vs. Baylor Cotton Bowl betting odds guide and prediction
Baylor brings its electrifying offense into bowl season to take on Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl.
The Michigan State Spartans are 6-4 straight up and 8-1-1 against the spread in their last 10 games as the betting underdog. The Spartans will be looking for another outright upset against Baylor in the Cotton Bowl Classic on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) at AT&T Stadium.
Michigan State is a 2.5-point underdog in the Cotton Bowl according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. How motivated Baylor will be coming into this game is up for debate, but the Bears are too strong on offense to pass on as 2.5-point favorites in a matchup that the computer thinks will be even closer.
OddsShark Computer Prediction: Michigan State 35.3, Baylor 35.6
By most measures, Michigan State’s season was an excellent one with a 10-2 SU and 8-4 ATS record. The Spartans had a great year on offense averaging 43.1 points per game and on defense allowing only 19.9 points per game. But in the weak Big Ten, the Spartans weren’t challenged often, going off as a double-digit favorite in all but three games; a 27-22 win over Nebraska, a 46-27 loss to Oregon and a 49-37 loss to Ohio State. Michigan State is 3-0 SU and ATS over its last three bowl appearances.
The Bears were the last team left out by the playoff bowl committee, ranking No. 5 with an 11-1 SU and 8-4 ATS record. Baylor has the nation’s best offense with 48.8 points per game and 581.3 yards per game, leading the country in both categories. Head Coach Art Briles has been vocal in his displeasure with the committee’s decision, and it will be interesting to see if the Bears don’t bring their best to this game because they felt they deserved better or if they use this matchup as a statement game. Baylor has averaged 52.7 points in its last three bowl games.
The OVER is 7-4 over Baylor’s last 11 games according to the OddsShark College Football Database and 11-3 over Michigan State’s last 14. Thursday’s total is set at 69.5 points.
Michigan State has the edge statistically on defense, but the Spartans failed their tests against the two elite offenses they faced this year. In what looks on paper like a shootout, Baylor should have the firepower to win and cover as a 2.5-point favorite.