Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Michigan State-Ohio State, Kansas-Iowa State

Saturday’s College Basketball Betting Previews: Michigan State-Ohio State, Kansas-Iowa State article feature image
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Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michigan State Spartans guard Cassius Winston (5), Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson (34).

The NFL playoffs are about to kick off, but let’s not forget about the massive college basketball slate taking place on Saturday, including 14-ranked teams. Among them, No. 8 Michigan State travels to Columbus to square off against No. 14 Ohio State before No. 5 Kansas faces Iowa State.

Where is the value at in these matchups? Let’s break them down.


>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.


Betting Odds For Michigan State at Ohio State

  • Spread: Michigan State -2
  • Over/Under: 143
  • Time: Noon ET
  • TV: FOX

Surprised the Buckeyes (7-6 against the spread) are involved in a tight line with the Spartans (10-4 ATS)? It’s just the standard Chris Holtmann effect.

Michigan State has generated the seventh-highest Effective Field Goal Percentage (58.1%) in Division I, aided by the 10th-best 3-point clip (40.8%). Its perimeter shooting isn’t nearly as vital as its scoring inside the arc, though, which constitutes for 51.3% of its offense.

Ohio State’s sound defense hinges on its ability to limiting opponents’ entry passes into the lane, yielding the 17th-lowest two-point percentage (43.4%). That should help deliver the Buckeyes an advantage down low, and they’ve also manufactured a 26.0% Defensive Rebounding Rate, limiting the Spartans’ second-chance opportunities while establishing a slower tempo in the process.

To make matters worse, MSU sharpshooter Joshua Langford (15.0 points per game) is listed as doubtful with a left ankle injury.

At the other end, Holtmann’s crew isn’t too reliant on its perimeter game despite its 53rd-ranked 3-point shooting (54.9%).

Instead, OSU has amassed the 25th-highest free throw rate in the country, and with Michigan State being plagued by foul trouble at times this season, including a road loss at Louisville, the Buckeyes will likely revolve their offense around attacking the basket.

It boasts the personnel needed to do so, guided by 6-foot-9 sophomore Kaleb Wesson (16.5 ppg). His matchup with Spartans’ big Nick Ward (16.4 ppg) could be the deciding factor, as both units run their respective offenses through one another aplenty.

Holtmann has gone 15-12 (55.5%) ATS as a regular season dog amid his head coaching stints at Butler and Ohio State. Look for his program to continue that trend Saturday afternoon — and earn a home cover of MSU for the second straight season.

THE PICK: Ohio State +2

Betting Odds For Kansas at Iowa State

  • Spread: Iowa State -1
  • Over/Under: 151
  • Time: 5 p.m. EST
  • TV: ESPN2

Of course, the Cyclones (8-5 ATS) are much-improved this season via their 16th-rated Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (114.4 Points Per 100 Possession) — a tick higher than the Jayhawks’ 18th-ranked AdjO.

But since the line is essentially a pick ’em, keep in mind that Kansas (6-7 ATS) is 11-4 straight up at Hilton Coliseum under Bill Self. Not only do the Jayhawks have history on their side, but they also boast a significant size advantage over Iowa State, especially with the Udoka Azubuike (8.7% Block Rate) back in the lineup. The 7-foot center missed four games with a right ankle injury.

Self’s bunch has manufactured the 64th-highest two-point percentage in the nation (54.7%), and we saw Iowa’s height edge torture the Cyclones in a 14-point loss on Dec. 6, notching a 58.5% clip inside the arc. ISU didn’t have a healthy Lindell Wigginton or Soloman Young at the time, but it still exhibited its flaws against a lengthy lineup.

The 6-foot-8 Young, one of the Cyclones’ top bigs, should still be on a minute restriction following groin surgery in October. Kansas’ Dedric Lawson (19.1 ppg) will be able to take advantage, allowing its offense to run through him as usual.

Moreover, with both squads aiming to push the floor often via their top-80 Adjusted Tempos, expect added pressure to fall on the Jayhawks’ five-star freshmen duo of Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes.

Although the Cyclones have one of college basketball’s top ball-handling trios in Wigginton, Virginia transfer Marial Shayok and Talen Horton-Tucker, look for the emerging Grimes (8.5 ppg) to come up big down the stretch and help his team sweak out a cover.

THE PICK: Kansas +1