Michigan State (6-6) struggled mightily this season despite head coach Mark Dantonio setting becoming the program’s all-time wins leader. Dantonio has gone 113-57 during his 13 seasons in East Lansing, but his job status is still in question after a very difficult 2019 campaign which saw Sparty suffer through a five-game losing streak. Quarterback Brian Lewerke will be playing in his final game. The senior has struggled this season with just 16 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Spartan defense has been stellar, ranking 14th in the FBS allowing 108.6 rushing yards per game. Michigan State lost a low-scoring 7-6 affair to Oregon in last year’s Redbox Bowl.
Wake Forest (8-4) is playing in its fourth straight bowl game, having won the previous three. The Demon Deacons can also win their ninth game for just the third time in program history and the first time since 2007. Wake Forest runs an up-tempo offense and leads the nation with 83.7 plays per game. Quarterback Jamie Newman has had a dynamic 2019 campaign with over 3,000 total yards and 29 combined touchdowns. The junior leads a Demon Deacons offense that is 12th in the country averaging 473.4 yards per game. Wake’s defense struggled at times this season and finished in the middle of the pack in the ACC in yards allowed (409.8) and points (29.3) per game.
ESPN’s FPI gives Michigan State a 60.5% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Friday’s Pinstripe Bowl between the Spartans and Demon Deacons.
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Michigan State vs. Wake Forest Game Details
Date: Friday, December 27
Time: 3:20 p.m. ET
Location: Yankee Stadium (Bronx, New York)
Spread: Michigan State -4
This line opened at Michigan State -3.5 and has been bet up slightly to Michigan State -4 with the majority of the bets and money coming in on the Spartans. This line is correlated to the action and is moving with the market.
- Michigan State is 6-6 SU and 3-9 ATS this season
- Wake Forest is 8-4 SU and 5-6-1 ATS this season
- Under is 7-5 in Michigan State games this season
- Under is 7-5 in Wake Forest games this season
Analysis & Pick
Now we’re starting to get into the meat of bowl season, as our first Power 5 matchup features an ACC-Big 10 showdown between Wake and MSU. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio is definitely on the hot seat and has posted a mediocre 26-24 record over his last four seasons at the helm. However, Dantonio usually steps up his game in the postseason as Michigan State is 4-1 ATS in their last five bowl games. For that reason, I’m backing the Sparty and the better defense here in what should mirror a Big 10 affair, outdoors at Yankee Stadium in less-than-ideal conditions. I am a little concerned about Wake’s freaky fast offense tiring out the Michigan State defensive front, but I also trust Dantonio to draw up a defensive game plan that will slow down the Demon Deacs. The low total of 50 also leads me to believe the oddsmakers think Michigan State’s defense will control the tempo. Take the better team in the trenches.
PICK: Michigan State -4
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith