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Michigan Opens as Largest Favorite in UM-MSU Rivalry This Century

The Wolverines are favored by more than two touchdowns against Michigan State in East Lansing.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It was going to be a big number.

Yesterday, Michigan mashed Illinois, 41-8, to open the season 7-0, with five of those wins coming by 30-plus points, while Michigan State fell to Maryland, 28-17, to lose its fifth straight game and remain winless in the Big Ten. These teams have been moving in opposite directions. The Wolverines have ascended to the peak of the college football landscape, and the Spartans are sliding down to the base rapidly this season.

So we knew the Michigan-Michigan State spread would be a big number.

We just didn’t know how big. Until now.

The Wolverines opened as an 18-point road favorite against their in-state rival, according to This is the most that either the Wolverines or the Spartans have been favored in this rivalry dating as far back as 1997, which is as far back as the database goes. The previous “best” was when Michigan State was a 16.5-point home favorite in 2014 as the Brady Hoke era came to a screeching halt. The Spartans pummeled the Wolverines in that one by a 35-11 score.

This is the eighth straight game that Michigan has been favored by double-digit points this season, and the Wolverines are 5-2-0 against the spread. This is just the second time that the Spartans are underdogs this year, and they are 1-6-0 against the spread.