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Baylor vs. Michigan State - 1/1/15 Cotton Bowl Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Michigan State Spartans (10-2) at Baylor Bears (11-1)

College Football: Thursday, January 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm (AT&T Stadium)

The Line: Baylor Bears -2.5 -- Over/Under: 70.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Michigan State Spartans and Baylor Bears play Thursday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium.

The Michigan State Spartans have won nine of their last 10 games and are playing in their eighth straight bowl. Connor Cook is completing 58.2 percent of his passes for 22 touchdowns and six interceptions. Cook has three touchdowns and one pick in his last two games, and Michigan State has 26 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery have combined for more than 1,500 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns while Macgarrett Kings Jr. has five receptions in his last three games. Michigan State’s ground game is averaging 5.1 yards per carry, as Jeremy Langford leads the way with 1,360 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Defensively, the Michigan State Spartans are allowing 19.9 points, 293.5 yards, and they’ve forced 37 sacks and 33 turnovers. Kurtis Drummond leads MSU with 65 tackles and Shilique Calhoun has 11 tackles for loss.

Baylor vs. Michigan State - 1/1/15 Cotton Bowl Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Baylor Bears have won five straight games and are playing in their fifth straight bowl. Bryce Petty is completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. Petty has four total touchdowns and one pick in his last two games, and Baylor has 48 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Corey Coleman and KD Cannon have combined for more than 1,800 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while Antwan Goodley has 11 receptions in his last two games. Baylor’s ground game is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, as Shock Linwood leads the way with 1,226 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns. Defensively, the Baylor Bears are allowing 24.2 points, 367.7 yards, and they’ve forced 36 sacks and 24 turnovers. Bryce Hager leads Baylor with 101 tackles and Shawn Oakman has 18.5 tackles for loss.

The Spartans are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Bears are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games and 22-8-1 ATS in their last 31 games overall. 

I question just how motivated the Baylor Bears are for this game after they feel they should be playing in the college football playoff. And while Baylor can score a ton of points, they haven't faced a defense as elite as Michigan States. I think the Spartans ability to be physical on both ends of the ball will be the difference here. I'm taking the Spartans in an outright win.

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