Minnesota vs Michigan State Odds, Pick for Thursday

Minnesota vs Michigan State Odds, Pick for Thursday article feature image
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(Photo by David Berding/Getty Images). Pictured: Dawson Garcia (left) and Cam Christie (right).

Minnesota vs Michigan State Odds

Thursday, Mar 14
12:00pm ET
BTN
Minnesota Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
+6.5
-110
135
-115o / -105u
+225
Michigan St Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
-6.5
-110
135
-115o / -105u
-275
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers have a shot to go on a run in the Big Ten tournament and backdoor their way into the NCAA tournament as an automatic qualifier.

That would start with defeating the Michigan State Spartans on Thursday. The Gophers hold one of the best ATS records in the country at 24-7 and defeated this Spartan team once already.

Michigan State is in dire straits right now, and a one-and-done showing in the Big Ten tournament could lead the Spartans to being on the outside looking in for the NCAA tournament bubble.

This will be a battle of defense (Michigan State) versus offense (Minnesota), but the Gophers should, at the very least, continue their trend of covering the spread.


Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota ranks well in both offensive 3-point and 2-point rate, hitting about 36% from 3 and almost 55% from 2. Michigan State does yield a lot of 3s and the Gophers have a tendency to shoot more from outside. Teams are shooting a touch under 33% on the Spartans, but the Gophers are the 11th-most efficient team in 3-point shooting, per Shot Quality.

Joshua Ola-Joseph (questionable) being in concussion protocol does not help the Gophers' perimeter offense, but he is not one of Minnesota’s noteworthy sharp-shooters anyways.

Minnesota’s main detriment this season has been turning the ball over and not forcing many turnovers. Michigan State ranks within the top 40 in offensive turnover rate and top 75 defensively. In Minnesota’s loss at Michigan State, the Gophers lost the turnover battle 19-5, so this will surely be a part of Tom Izzo’s gameplan on defense.

However, Michigan State ranks 268th in points per possession in transition. Minnesota ranks within the top 25 offensively in that category, which should allow Ben Johnson’s Gophers to cut into this turnover margin.


Michigan State Spartans

I’ve harped on it all season long, but Michigan State's success is predicated on not falling in love with the midrange.

Michigan State takes among the most midrange shots in the nation, which is simply not a recipe for success in modern basketball. While Minnesota doesn't guard the midrange well, if Michigan State is giving up 3-point opportunities for long 2s, the Gophers would take that trade any day.

This matters because Michigan State could be able to take advantage of the porous perimeter defense from the Gophers. Michigan State shoots 36% from outside, but the Spartans also rank in the bottom 50 in 3-point attempt rate.

Shooting from the outside could be the key to defeating and covering against Minnesota, but it does not seem like that will change suddenly in one of the last games of the season.

Michigan State has not been a great rebounding team this season on either end of the floor. That said, neither have the Gophers.

Lastly, Michigan State has not gotten to the free-throw line much at all this season, while Minnesota can get there occasionally. Dawson Garcia and Elijah Hawkins are good at drawing contact and both shoot over 77% from the line. Since Michigan State tends to foul on defense, having the ball in one of their hands could lead to points almost every possession.

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Minnesota vs. Michigan State

Betting Pick & Prediction

Minnesota is a solid team and Johnson deserves all of the credit for turning this team around. Had the Gophers been on the inside of the projected NCAA Tournament field, Johnson could be the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

This Minnesota team is also much more efficient offensively, and Michigan State has lapses in fouling and allowing 3s. Look for the Gophers to cover. And since it's March, it would not be surprising to see an upset here with the backing of more Minnesota fans in the Twin Cities.

Pick: Minnesota +7.5 (Play to +5)

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