Saturday Big Ten Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Wisconsin-Michigan State, Minnesota-Michigan

Saturday Big Ten Tournament Betting Odds, Preview: Wisconsin-Michigan State, Minnesota-Michigan article feature image

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Eric Curry (24), forward Jordan Murphy (3).

Besides No. 2 seed Purdue getting upset by No. 7 Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, the rest of the league delivered fairly chalky results on Friday.

No. 1 Michigan State will open up Saturday’s semifinals vs. No. 4 Wisconsin, as the Badgers went down to the wire vs. a resilient Nebraska team. The Spartans owned a 21-point lead over Ohio State with 4:24 left before their opponent’s late flurry miraculously delivered a cover (+11) for Buckeyes backers.

On the other side of the bracket, No. 2 Michigan routed No. 6 Iowa to setup a meeting with the Golden Gophers.

Where’s the value in these two matchups with a trip to the Big Ten title game on the line? Let’s break them down.

Betting Odds: Michigan State Spartans vs. Wisconsin Badgers

  • Spread: Michigan State -5
  • Over/Under: 129.5
  • Time: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

>> All odds as of Saturday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time CBB odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The Spartans (22-10 against the spread) continued to bolster their reputation as covering machines, winning six of their past eight games ATS. One of them came against the Badgers (16-15-1 ATS), generating an eight-point win over Greg Gard’s squad in Madison in their lone regular season meeting.

Michigan State’s win was a credit to its rebounding prowess, owning the glass 40-28 overall. It generated 10 offensive rebounds — three of them from the 6-foot-8 Xavier Tillman — who’s since shifted into the starting lineup since Nick Ward began missing time with a hairline fracture.

The Spartans have amassed the 22nd-highest offensive rebounding rate (34.5%) in Division I and boasts a slight size edge over Wisconsin, as well. Expect them to run their attack inside-out, too, given the Badgers are letting up the fourth-highest 2-point scoring rate in conference play (53.2%).

Although Ward looked out of game shape against Ohio State, getting into foul trouble in the process, expect a more effective presence in his second game back. He and Tillman will be a tough cover inside after Nebraska’s much-less aggressive forward Isaiah Roby (13 points) took advantage of Wisconsin’s leaky defense in transition.

Spartans point guard Cassius Winston could see limited minutes again while dealing with a myriad of injuries, including knee tendinitis, but look for MSU’s offense to have enough firepower to fend off his limitations. Heck, backup point guard Foster Loyer notched 14 points and four 3-pointers in the win over OSU.

At the other end, the 6-foot-10 Ethan Happ and Co. will also attempt to play through the interior, as they’ve amassed the fourth-highest 2-point scoring percentage (54.7%) in league play.

But Michigan State’s fifth-lowest scoring rate (54.7%) from inside the arc is set up to slow them down. Tillman’s presence in the starting lineup  gives them an elite defender on the block as well — not just a rim protector like Ward.

THE PICK: Michigan State -5

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. Michigan Wolverines

  • Spread: Michigan -9.5
  • Over/Under: 130
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

The Golden Gophers (17-16 ATS) have covered in three of their last four games after dropping consecutive contests ATS — one of them at home vs. the Wolverines (18-14 ATS).

That evening, Michigan lit Williams Arena on fire with a 46.4% (13 of 28) 3-point shooting performance. Minnesota went a mere 1 of 10 from distance, including Amir Coffey’s donut-level showing. Richard Pitino’s bunch wasn’t aided by its 42.1% shooting from inside the arc, either.

Both departments should bounce back for the Golden Gophers on Saturday afternoon. For one, Amir Coffey got on a roll shortly after his dud of a performance, tallying 25.8 points per game over his five past contests.

Even with Charles Matthews (ankle) — the Wolverines’ top wing defender — back in the lineup, the 6-foot-8 Coffey should continue to find room off the dribble drive because of his teammates’ low-post presence.

Minnesota is tallying the 41st-highest 2-point scoring rate (54.5%) while the  Wolverines are letting up the highest scoring percentage from inside the arc (60.4%). The 6-foot-7 Jordan Murphy struggled to finish near the rim in the their most recent matchup, leading to a double-digit deficit much of it, but I’m expecting a revenge performance despite the Wolverines’ sound defensive front court.

On the flip side, Michigan’s second-ranked 3-point scoring rate (33.7%) amid its league slate should regress against the Golden Gophers’ fourth-rated perimeter scoring percentage (28.5%). The 7-foot-1 Jon Teske’s bailout 3-pointers won’t deliver the same results this time around.

THE PICK: Minnesota +9

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