LOOK: Michigan State opens up as a slim favorite for conference opener vs. Iowa

The Michigan State Spartans this Saturday will look to get back in the win column after a sloppy performance at home against Notre Dame over the weekend.

They will finally open up Big Ten play at home this coming Saturday when they welcome in cross-division foe Iowa to Spartan Stadium. So far, the “experts” out in Las Vegas are giving Michigan State the edge, albeit a very slim one.

MSU in their game against Notre Dame committed three first-half turnovers, all of which led to touchdowns for the Fighting Irish. While that has been an area of concern for coach Mark Dantonio and his team, penalties certainly have not been. After totaling just seven flags in their first two games against Bowling Green and Western Michigan, the Spartans were penalized nine times against Notre Dame.

Iowa (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten) is coming off a heart-breaker at home this past weekend against Penn State. The Nittany Lions effectively walked-off the Hawkeyes with a game-winning passing touchdown as time expired.

Michigan State, IowaOverall, Iowa has done just enough to secure wins in their first three games of the season prior to the game against Penn State. They've leaned heavily on a tandem of quarterback Nathan Stanley and running back Akrum Wadley. The former Stanley has performed very well since winning the starting job preseason, throwing for 846 yards in the team's first four games, adding in 12 touchdown passes versus just one interception.

Iowa narrowly avoided an upset (or what would have been deemed as such) in their first road contest three weeks ago against in-state rival Iowa State, needing overtime to down the Cyclones, 44-41.

Expect a good, old-fashioned, black-and-blue Big Ten-type of game on Saturday in East Lansing. It will be the first meeting between the two schools since their epic Big Ten Championship Game in 2015, a 13-9 victory for MSU that locked up a spot in the College Football Playoff and ended Iowa's bid for a perfect season.

Overall, it's been a relatively even series since 2000, with Iowa having a slight 7-6 advantage.