Michigan State has won 19 straight games as a favorite and covered the spread in 12 of those games.
So as the Spartans prepare to host the Notre Dame's Fighting Irish Saturday, they raise the expectations of alumni who bet them each week at the sportsbook window.
The Irish play the second of three straight games against Big Ten opponents when they rumble into east Lansing Saturday night at Spartan Stadium (8 pm ET, ABC). They had been a solid roll as an underdog (8-1 ATS) before losing their final two 2011 games in that role.
As of Monday evening most CFB betting shops were listing Michigan State at around -5 for Saturday's game, with a total of 43.5.
"There was early action on the OVER, which was possibly a kneejerk reaction to the recent trend between these teams, which has seen six of eight games play OVER," said Jack Randall of OddsShark.com.
Notre Dame is off to a 2-0 start to this season. The Irish opened with that 50-10 romp over Navy in Ireland, then came back to the States and held off Purdue Saturday 20-17. But while ND covered as a 14-point favorite vs. the Middies, it couldn't cover 14 points vs. the Boilers.
The Irish led 17-7 going into the fourth quarter Saturday, but allowed Purdue to tie the game on a touchdown with just over two minutes to go. Notre Dame then, with backup QB Tommy Rees at the helm, drove 57 yards to a game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
Irish starter Everett Golson went 21-for-31 passing Saturday for 289 yards, with one TD throwing and one running. But it was former starter Rees who came in late and led the Irish on their game-winning drive.
Golson is expected to remain the starter for this Saturday. Notre Dame got outrushed by the Boilers 90-51.
Michigan State is also 2-0. The Spartans knocked off Boise State 17-13 in their season opener, then went to Central Michigan Saturday and beat the Chippewas 41-7. MSU didn't cover as an eight-point favorite over the Broncos, but breezed to a cover as 18-point chalk at CMU.
QB Andrew Maxwell, after an iffy game vs. Boise in which he threw three interceptions, hit on 20 of 31 passes vs. the Chippewas for 275 yards and two scores, with nary an INT.
Michigan State outrushed Boise State 213-37, and outgrounded Central Michigan 173-72.
With the victories Saturday the Irish advanced from No. 22 to No. 20 in this week's AP poll, while the Spartans jumped from No. 19 to No. 10.
These teams have met each season since 1997, and have split the last 10 games. Last year the Irish beat the Spartans 31-13 in South Bend, covering as six-point favorites. That game stayed 'under' its total of 51.
Notre Dame gets a boost on offense Saturday with the return of RB Cierre Wood, who missed the first two games serving a suspension.
Free Pick: In college football games matching ranked teams, the higher-ranked squads usually come out on top. We like the way the Spartans take care of business as chalk and we side with Michigan State minus the five points. (courtesy of Pick Shark)