The Oregon Ducks and Michigan State Spartans face off for the seventh time in history, but the first in a bowl game, meeting in the 2018 Redbox Bowl, kicking off at Dec. 31 at 3 p.m. ET (available on fuboTV) from Levi's Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. The Ducks are one-point sportsbook favorites in the latest Oregon vs. Michigan State odds, with the over-under for total points scored set at 44.5 after opening at 48. The series is 3-3 all-time between these programs, each going 3-0 at home. Oregon's high-powered offense against Michigan State's shutdown defense is just one of many fascinating matchups, so before locking in any Oregon vs. Michigan State picks of your own, be sure to check out the 2018 Redbox Bowl picks and predictions from SportsLine's Mike Tierney.
A national sportswriter whose work has appeared in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, the veteran handicapper has covered college football of all levels up close for decades and is wrapping up his second-straight year in the black for those following him.
He's especially hot when it comes to picking Michigan State games, hitting on his last four against the spread picks involving the Spartans. He took Ohio State (-3.5) in the Buckeyes' 26-6 win over the Spartans on Nov. 10, and took MSU (-3.5) in a 24-3 rout of Maryland on Nov. 3. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, Tierney evaluated the latest 2018 Redbox Bowl odds and crunched the numbers for every possible scenario for Oregon vs. Michigan State. His 2018 Redbox Bowl picks are locked in only at SportsLine.
Oregon's offense is led by QB Justin Herbert, who passed for 2,985 yards, 28 TDs and eight INTs. Even though he was considered a top prospect for the 2019 NFL Draft, his recent announcement that he'll be back next season should be a nice boost for Oregon's morale. Herbert has a marquee talent to get the ball to in Dillon Mitchell, who has 69 receptions for 1,114 yards and nine TDs.
As the offense goes, so go the Ducks. In the team's eight wins, Oregon is averaging 44.4 ppg. In the four losses, that number is nearly cut in half (22.8). Oregon's ball-hawking defense has registered 16 INTs and three TDs. Freshman safety Jevon Holland has four picks to lead a unit that's allowed 38 TDs -- the Ducks' offense has scored 61 of them.
Just because the Ducks can score in large quantities doesn't mean they'll cover the 2018 Redbox Bowl spread.
Tierney also knows Michigan State averaged only 19.8 points per game, but the Spartans are in a bowl because their defense is as shut-down as they come. The Spartans allow only 81 rushing yards per game, fewest in the country and especially impressive coming out of the physical Big Ten. Overall, the defense ranks 14th in total yards and 13th in points. Defensive end Kenny Willekes has been a disruptive force, registering 20.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks en route to Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. Linebacker Joe Bachie was also a first-team All-Big Ten defender.
The offense, meanwhile, has a clear road to success. When the Spartans rush for 100-plus yards, they're 7-1; they're 0-4 when they don't. In addition, they're 6-1 when they score 20 points and 1-5 when they don't. A strong game on the ground, and a mistake-free afternoon from quarterback Brian Lewerke, will be keys to a cover for MSU.
Tierney has studied each matchup in depth and we can tell you he's leaning toward the under. But he's also identified a critical x-factor that caused him to jump all over one side of the spread. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Oregon vs. Michigan State? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Mike Tierney's pick for the 2018 Redbox Bowl, all from a seasoned college football expert who's 4-0 on Michigan State picks, and find out.