Since I cannot work and occupy my mind, due to the impending game, I am trying to make myself feel better and get over these nerves. Mike Despacito's record at MSU vs. UM against the spread is incredible. It horrifies me. The guy is either good or lucky, and it really doesn't matter which (though, of course, it does).
So, I wanted to know - dispassionately - how likely we are to win this game tomorrow, throwing out his specific record ATS against us and the intense personal rivalry between the two programs. What are UM's chances of winning this game as 7 points favorites? I found a great website that has data on performance by game spread/line since 2003.
Based on this data (which I assume is accurate, because it's on the Internet), there have been 577 games where the closing line was -7 for one of the teams since 2003. In those games, the favored team won the game (regardless of score) 404 times, for a winning rate of 70.0%. In other words, a team favored by 7 points wins the game 7 of 10 times. FYI, if the line moves a half point in either direction before the game tomorrow, which it very well might, the odds of winning change very little; at either -6.5 or -7.5, the odds of winning outright drop a little to 68.5% and 67.5%, respectively.
However, while the team favored by 7 points may win 7/10 games, they cover the spread less than 50% of the time (46.0%). So don't be surprised if we win a close one tomorrow; I doubt anyone would be anyway.
(Now, to anticipate objections, I am sure someone will say, "BUT, even though we are 7 point favorites and that gives UM a 70% chance to win the game, that isn't factoring in the fact that D'Anterini has beat the spread against UM every time since 2007!!!" To which I respond... Of course the oddsmakers are taking this into account when they set the line. Based purely on records, offensive and defensive performance, and so forth, so far this season, UM should probably be a bigger favorite. And if we were, say, a 9-point favorite, which seems more accurate to me, our odds winning outright would leap to 83.7%)
So, we have a 70% chance to win tomorrow. I feel no better. But maybe you will...