Big Ten Tournament Championship Betting Guide: Will Banged-Up Winston Impact Michigan-Michigan State?

Big Ten Tournament Championship Betting Guide: Will Banged-Up Winston Impact Michigan-Michigan State? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, Michigan guard Zavier Simpson

Big Ten Championship Betting Odds: Michigan-Michigan State

  • Spread: Michigan State -1
  • Over/Under: 134.5
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

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

These in-state rivals will meet for the third time in three weeks — with the Big Ten tournament title on the line. No pressure.

Both covered in their semifinal matchups en route to the final, as No. 1 seed Michigan State (-5.5) disposed of the offensively-challenged No. 4 Wisconsin before No. 3 Michigan (-9) wrecked No. 7 Minnesota, posting 1.25 points per possession in the process.

The Spartans won — outright and against the spread — in their two regular-season affairs, using second half spurts via Cassius Winston to propel them. But the 6-foot point guard appeared to suffer an ankle injury in their win over the Badgers, adding onto his knee tendinitis and ankle injury.

With Winston nursing a myriad of concerns, where’s the value in the Big Ten tournament title game? Let’s break it down.

The Spartans (23-10 ATS) used a bevy of pick-and-roll sets to shred the Wolverines’ (19-14 ATS) highest-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (86.0 points per possessions) in the country. Tom Izzo’s unit produced a combined 65.4% clip from inside the arc as a result, and each showing came without Nick Ward (hairline fracture).

It’s a product of Michigan’s struggling interior bunch, yielding the highest 2-point scoring rate (61.0%) in Division I. MSU has amassed the 25th-highest 2-point (55.1%) percentage in college basketball, too.

Winston has dominated Michigan point guard Zavier Simpson this season, but look for his injuries to give Simpson — an elite on-ball defender — the advantage in his team’s pick-and-roll defense. Winston’s attack off the dribble looked sluggish on Saturday as well.

The 6-foot-6 wing Charles Matthews, who missed their latest matchup with his own ankle injury, will also provide a much-needed enforcer to limit MSU’s ball penetration.

Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michigan guard Charles Matthews

Simpson will be able to create extra space at the other end, as Winston wasn’t able to shift as feet as well in the second half against Wisconsin.

The Wolverines’ biggest strength has surprisingly come from behind the arc, generating the second-highest 3-point scoring rate (33.7%) in conference play.

Expect Simpson to be able to probe through the Spartans’ defense to find his 3-point specialists, especially 6-foot-5 wing Jordan Poole (12.9 points per game), who’s been their most effective perimeter threat against MSU.

Michigan State allowed the fifth-highest 3-point scoring rate (32.6%) during its league slate, too.

If you’re interested in the total, these two teams combined to hit the under in 69.2% of their games this season.

Despite both of their regular-season duels reaching the over, I’m expecting Michigan to control the tempo and keep this one on the other side. John Beilein’s crew amassed the third-lowest average possession length (18.8 seconds per possession) in conference play.

Look for the Wolverines to snag a a cover — and likely their third-straight Big Ten tournament title.

The moneyline wouldn’t be a bad play in this revenge spot, either.

THE PICK: Michigan +1

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