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Odds for Cook-less Spartans

NCAA Football betting enthusiasts who tuned into the Cotton Bowl last season got to see the Crimson Tide steamroll Michigan State. While the Spartans were hoping to avenge their 2011 Capital One Bowl loss, they instead were faced with a repeat. Once again Alabama made quick work of Michigan State in the College Football Playoffs beating them 38-0. While losing to the eventual champs might be a consolation of sorts, the fact that they’ve been blown in out by the same team in five years isn’t. Saban is the master of college football and has yet to be handed a loss by a former protégé. But Mark Dantonio isn’t about to live his life under the shadow of Nick Saban and is ready to take Michigan State to the playoffs once more. Let’s see what the world of NCAA Football betting thinks of his chances.

Odds to Win NCAA Football National Championship

Michigan State Spartans +8050

Odds to Win Big Ten Conference Championship Game

Michigan State Spartans +855

While those aren’t the worst odds, the sportsbooks certainly don’t expect the reigning Big Ten champions to successfully defend their title. Ohio State is by far the favorite to win the division with +175 odds. Michigan State isn’t even the second favorites, that honor goes to Jim Hargbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. In fact not a single one of the 39 members of media that took part in the annual preseason poll picked the Spartans to win the Big 10. Most of the skepticism regarding the defending champs is based around the departure of their quarterback Connor Cook. But Cook isn’t the only loss suffered by Michigan State; they’ve also lost Jack Conklin – who was picked 8th overall, Shilique Calhoun, and Donavon Clark. Those are some heavy losses on both offensive and defensive lines.

“I think when you have a new quarterback situation and you lose a guy like Connor Cook and some of our other players, people tend to: ‘Oh, how can they overcome the losses of two All-American linemen, etc.?” Dantonio told the press during the Big Ten Media Days. “…There’s a lot of players there. We’ll see how it all shakes out. But I like where we’re at. We’ll be fine”

Being a protégé of Saban, Dantonio is well aware of the role recruitment plays in continued success in college football. While Dantonio is convinced that his team will find success in the upcoming season, many NCAA Football betting fans aren’t. The last time the Spartans lost a talented quarterback (Kirk Cousins who departed in 2012) they weren’t able to accomplish anything the following season. With Cousins at the helm the Spartans had two consecutive seasons with 11 wins, after his departure the team struggled to find 7.

Although the 2012 season was definitely a disappointment the Spartans were able to bounce back in 2013 by going undefeated against Big Ten opponents, winning the Big Ten Championship game, and even going on to win the Rose Bowl – a feat they hadn’t accomplished since 1988. Dantonio will be looking to take the experience he learned in that 2012 transition season to ensure that this upcoming season is a success and not a bust.