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College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Michigan State vs. Minnesota: Bet To Make in Big Ten Showdown

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Michigan State vs. Minnesota: Bet To Make in Big Ten Showdown article feature image

Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Gabe Brown.

  • Michigan State takes on Minnesota in a Big Ten showdown.
  • There is clear value on the over and under, but why is that the case?
  • Alex Hinton breaks it all down.

Michigan State vs. Minnesota Odds

Wednesday, Dec. 8
9 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Michigan State Odds
-105o / -115u
Minnesota Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

After a down  year by its usual standards in 2020-21, Michigan State is off to a 7-2 start this season. That record is even more impressive when you consider that MSU has played the ninth-toughest schedule in the country and the toughest among power five teams.

Michigan State’s losses came to No. 8 Kansas in the Champions Classic and No. 2 Baylor in the Battle 4 Atlantis Finals. The No. 19 Spartans have wins over No. 15 UConn, Butler, Loyola Chicago and Louisville.

Next up on the docket is a trip to Minnesota to battle the Golden Gophers. Minnesota is off to a 7-0 start under first-year coach Ben Johnson, whose team picked up road wins over Pitt and Mississippi State last week.

Michigan State has won five of the last six meetings between these programs and eight of the last 10 overall. However, the Golden Gophers won last year’s meeting 81-56 at The Barn.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State lost three of top four leading scorers from last season, most notably Aaron Henry. The Spartans are still in search of an alpha dog for this year’s team, but forward Gabe Brown is trying to fill that role. The 6-foot-8 senior is averaging 12.9 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 35% from deep.

Forward/center Marcus Bingham has made a big leap this season and is averaging 10.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks, all career highs.

Last year, Michigan State struggled at times due to the lack of having a true point. Northeastern transfer Tyson Walker has provided stability with 5.8 points and 4.9 assists on 38% shooting in 22 minutes. The case can be made that AJ Hoggard would be a better option, though. He’s averaging 6.4 points and 4.2 assists on 43% shooting in 18 minutes per contest.

Five-star guard Max Christies has struggled shooting the ball so far at 34% from the field and 29% from 3-point range. Forward Malik Hall has stepped up, though, averaging 9.1 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting nearly 57% from the field and 62% from beyond the arc.

Michigan State has not been a dynamic offensive team, but it’s winning with defense. The Spartans are second nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, 11th in blocked shots, 23rd in field goal percentage defense and 25th in 3-point percentage defense. The Spartans are also fourth in the Big Ten in scoring defense and rebounding margin.

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Minnesota Golden Gophers

The Richard Pitino era ended with a thud with the Golden Gophers going 14-15 and losing key players like Marcus Carr and Liam Robbins. However, Johnson aggressively hit the transfer portal to reshape the roster.

The Golden Gophers brought in six transfers, including its top-four scorers in forward Jamison Battle (17.9 points and 6.1 rebounds; George Washington), and guards Payton Willis (17.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists; Vanderbilt), E.J. Stephens (11.1 points; Lafayette) and Sean Sutherlin (9.2 points and 4.3 rebounds; New Hampshire).

Forward Eric Curry is contributing 7.6 rebounds, 6.3 rebounds and one block per game.

Minnesota ranks 204th in scoring (71.2 per game), 190th in offensive rating and 142nd in scoring defense. The Golden Gophers have been better on the defensive end so far at 47th in defensive rating and 54th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They own the nation’s top 3-point-shooting defense, allowing just 23%.

Michigan State vs. Minnesota Betting Pick

I like Michigan State to win this game outright, however Michigan State is just 7-9 in road Big Ten openers under Tom Izzo and Sparty is just 27-37 all-time at Williams Arena. With that in mind, I don’t love mind -5.5 in this spot.

However, with both teams being better defensively, I do like the under.

Michigan State and Minnesota have allowed a combined 124.6 points per game this season, so there’s your value already. Both teams have been excellent defensively on the perimeter, ranking in the top 11 against the 3-ball. The easiest way to cash an under is when both teams are scoring inside the arc primarily.

Four of Minnesota’s games this season have gone under 133.5 already, and Michigan State will be the best defensive team that it’s seen this season. The Gophers have scored 55 or fewer in two of its last three games. On the other side, four of Michigan State’s games have gone under 133.5 thus far and Michigan State is 6-3 to the under overall.

I would play the under down to 132.5.

Pick: Under 133.5

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