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Red Box Bowl Boils Down To This: Spartans Can’t Hang With Ducks Offensively

This Nov. 17, 2018, file photo shows Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert throwing down field against Arizona State during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore

Justin Herbert and the Oregon Ducks fly south to Levi’s Stadium for a New Year’s Eve bowl game with the Michigan State Spartans in a game that pits the No. 17 scoring offense against the No. 13 scoring defense. With contrasting styles as the name of the game, Oregon is a 2.5-point favorite as the Pac-12 looks to improve on its woeful bowl record over the past two years. The total in this game is lurking around 48.

  • The total has gone UNDER in five of Oregon’s last seven games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in seven straight Michigan State games (avg. combined score 28.6).
  • Pac-12 teams are 1-9 SU in their last 10 bowl games.

Michigan State vs Oregon Red Box Bowl Game Center

Spartans Just Don’t Score Points

The UNDER has hit in Michigan State’s last eight games to finish the season, an indication of how few points the team is actually scoring. The Spartans have the No. 120 offense in the FBS and, as of Thursday, had yet to name a starting quarterback for the Red Box Bowl.

Brian Lewerke was the starter at the beginning of the season and has taken the majority of the snaps for Michigan State, but he’s been under very close scrutiny after throwing more picks (10) than touchdowns (8) in his junior season. It’s a huge departure from the 20 passing TDs he had a year ago.

If it’s not Lewerke under center on Monday, we’ll see blond-haired freshman Rocky Lombardi. The six-foot-three QB from Iowa handled the workload in a 9-6 loss to Rutgers and a 14-10 win over Nebraska to finish the season. However, he completed just over 40 percent of his pass attempts.

We Know Oregon Will Score Points

Putting points on the board has not been a problem for the Oregon Ducks and Justin Herbert this season. Herbert, who was included in Heisman chatter earlier in the season, has recently committed to returning as a senior to improve on his 60 percent completion rate, 3,000 passing yards and 28:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Despite finishing just fourth in the Pac-12, Oregon scored over 37 points per game in a conference renowned for low-scoring games. That includes hanging 30 on Washington (No. 5 scoring defense) and 42 on Cal’s No. 23 scoring defense.

My Pick for New Year’s Eve

You can find me UNDER the mistletoe with my Oregon -2.5 ticket when the ball drops. I think Michigan State will be able to keep this close early but the sustained pressure from Oregon will eventually be too much.

If you’re feeling dangerous, maybe find yourself a spread + total bet that lets you take Oregon -2.5 and UNDER 48.