Michigan State vs. Butler Odds, Prediction, Preview: Lay Points with Spartans in Tough Road Spot

Michigan State vs. Butler Odds, Prediction, Preview: Lay Points with Spartans in Tough Road Spot article feature image

Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Michigan State huddles during a game against Western Michigan.

  • Updated Michigan State vs. Butler odds list the Spartans as a 3-point favorite, up half a point from earlier in the day on Wednesday. The total has stood pat at 131.5.
  • Mike Randle is betting against an experienced but less-talented Butler team, and laying it on the road with Michigan State.
  • Get his full Michigan State vs. Butler preview and pick below.

Michigan State vs. Butler Odds

Wednesday, Nov. 17
7 p.m. ET
Michigan State Odds
Butler Odds
Odds via GunLake, updated Wednesday afternoon. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Michigan State is trying to rebound from the worst season under head coach Tom Izzo. The Spartans finished with a 15-13 record and 9-11 Big Ten in the Big Ten, the first time they were under .500 in conference since 1996-97. 

Butler returns all five starters, looking to put the COVID struggles from last season behind them. The Bulldogs finished just 8-12 in Big East play, only ahead of bottom-dweller DePaul in the conference standings. 

In a game with a very close spread at the raucous Hinkle Fieldhouse, should bettors back a Michigan State team focused on a bounce-back season or a veteran Butler team with a big home-court advantage?

Remade Spartans Showing Optimistic Signs

Izzo has rebuilt the Spartans in the mold of past successful teams. Michigan State brought in Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker to serve as floor general for a balanced team of veterans and dynamic freshmen.

Seniors Gabe Brown, Joey Hauser and Marcus Bingham need to re-establish the Spartans' prowess on the boards. Michigan State ranked outside the top 90 teams in offensive and defensive rebounding efficiency last season, per KenPom. It was a very good sign to see the Spartans outrebound Western Michigan 58-28 in the last game.

Walker has been slow to acclimate to Big Ten play, but Izzo should be encouraged by backup point guard A.J. Hoggard. The 6-foot-4 sophomore is second on the team in scoring (12 PPG) and first in assists (5.5) despite averaging only 22 minutes per contest.

Izzo's team has produced two big statistical positives early in the season:  pace and 3P defense. The Spartans have gotten out in transition, led by their strong duo of point guards. This has led to easy baskets, creating easy offensive opportunities. The Spartans are also limiting their opponents to just 24.4% from 3P, which is a critical against Butler.

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Bulldogs Need To Keep Pace

The Bulldogs bring back all five starters, and have gotten off to a 3-0 start. Butler's metrics look great on both ends of the floor, ranking Top 30 in effective field goal percentage and Top 30 in 3P percentage defense.

However, the Bulldogs haven't played a difficult schedule. Butler has faced IUPUI, Central Arkansas and Troy, all of which rank outside the Top 230 in KenPom rankings.

Despite the easy schedule, Butler has still struggled badly with turnovers. Butler has averaged 15 turnovers per game on offense while only forcing 10.6 turnovers per game on defense.

Butler will rely on a trio of guards for their primary scoring. Chuck Harris, Jair Bolden, and Jayden Taylor combine to produce more than 43 points per game. However, Bolden is very streaky and rarely attacks the basket. Last season, Bolden had a stretch of single-digit production in six of seven games. The Bulldogs will need Bolden's hot shooting to continue to stay in this game.

Head coach LaVall Jordan plays at a deliberate pace, ranking just 354th in adjusted tempo. Butler is not built to come from behind, and need to play at their pace. The Spartans, with superior talent, will be tough to regulate even at Hinkle.

Michigan State vs. Butler Betting Pick

I'm not convinced that Butler is ready to beat a physical Michigan State team to go to 4-0 on the year. The Bulldogs have experience, but their talent level is inferior to the Spartans. Butler only led Troy by four points with 10 minutes left at home, and Michigan State will not falter down the stretch in close games.

I expect Walker to have his best game for the Spartans this season, and lead Michigan State to a solid non-conference win at Hinkle Fieldhouse. I would not lay more than three points, so watch the line carefully before placing your bet.

Pick: Michigan State -2.5 (Play up to Michigan State -3)

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Jun 25, 2024 UTC