Notre Dame vs. Michigan State College Basketball Odds & Picks: Betting Value on the Fighting Irish (Saturday, Nov. 28)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Langford, Rocket Watts
- The Tom Izzo-led Michigan State Spartans will take on Mike Brey's Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Saturday college basketball action.
- With Cassius Winston and Zavier Tillman now gone, the Irish may actually have a more experienced team than the Spartans.
- Pat McMahon breaks the game down and shares a betting pick based on his analysis below.
Notre Dame vs. Michigan State Odds
|Notre Dame Odds||+10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Michigan State Odds||-10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+520/-720 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||148.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 8 p.m. ET|
Notre Dame will open up its 2020-21 campaign on Saturday night with a trip to East Lansing to take on No. 13 Michigan State.
Irish head coach Mike Brey covets experience more than just about anything, and this team has lots of it in a season where it may matter more than it usually does thanks to the shortened preseason.
Michigan State took care of business in its season opener on Wednesday, beating Eastern Michigan, 83-67. The Spartans lost point guard Cassius Winston and big man Xavier Tillman to the NBA and are fielding a much younger team this season, but the presence of sixth-year senior Joshua Langford — who missed all of last season with an injury — should provide a big boost to this roster.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame’s current junior class was Brey’s highest-rated recruiting class in his career. The group has had its ups and downs, but it could be poised for a big season.
Point guard Prentiss Hubb and wing Dane Goodwin are the Irish’s leading returning scorers. Hubb is a crafty point guard who can score in bunches and does a nice job distributing to his teammates. Goodwin was one of the best sixth men in the sport last year and could turn into an All-ACC caliber player with a bigger role this season. He’s a strong spot-up shooter but can also create his own shot off the dribble.
Another member of this junior class that will join Hubb and Goodwin in the starting lineup is forward Nate Laszewski. Laszewski is a true stretch four who can really shoot it and will have plenty of opportunities to let it fly with John Mooney out of the picture.
Brey’s teams usually post solid numbers from beyond the arc, but last season was a different story. That should change with Stanford transfer Cormac Ryan, a 3-point specialist, getting up to speed after redshirting in 2019-20.
Senior Juwan Durham rounds out the starting five at center and is the anchor of the Irish defense. After transferring in from UConn, Durham has thrived for the Irish and is on pace to become Notre Dame’s all-time leader in blocks after just two seasons in South Bend.
The Irish aren’t a very deep team, but that doesn’t bother Brey as he’ll let his starters log major minutes. However, they could get a big boost if Santa Clara transfer Trey Wertz receives a waiver for immediate eligibility. His status is still unknown as of Friday evening, but the NCAA has been granting waivers left and right this season, so there’s a strong chance we see Wertz suit up tomorrow.
Michigan State Spartans
The new-look Spartans had some trouble early against Eastern Michigan, but a barrage of 3-pointers late in the first half helped them to pull away en route to a 16-point win.
Junior Foster Loyer logged the second start of his career in the opener, and posted a career-high 20 points, hitting six of his 10 3-point attempts. It was a bit of a surprise that Loyer started over Rockett Watts, but that could have just been a matchup call by Tom Izzo after Loyer’s outside shooting torched Eastern Michigan’s zone.
Watts still played significant minutes and should be on the court plenty against the Irish for his strong perimeter defense.
The Spartans are very strong on the wing with Aaron Henry and Langford. Langford understandably showed some rust in the opener after missing the last year and a half with injuries, but he should continue to look better as the season progresses.
Henry is a do-it-all player on the wing and filled up the stat sheet in the opener. His outside shot still hasn’t developed as much as Sparty fans would have liked to see, but his versatility and toughness make him an invaluable part of this team.
Joey Hauser, who transferred from Marquette, went 9-for-15 in the opener ,and his ability to knock down the 3 and stretch opposing defenses will open up a lot of things for this offense.
Replacing Tillman’s top-notch interior defense and rebounding is still a bit of a question mark, and highly-touted freshman Mady Sissoko was expected to fill that role, but he played just six minutes in the opener. Instead, it looks like a combo of Thomas Kithier, Gabe Brown and Marcus Bingham Jr. will see the bulk of the minutes in the frontcourt alongside Hauser.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I think Notre Dame’s experience, especially in the backcourt, will pay dividends in the season opener. Michigan State has plenty of options this season, but Winston and Tillman were such cornerstones for the program. I don’t think the talent is there to fully replace their production.
I think the Spartans are a bit overrated, and we’ll see some inflated lines early in the year as a result. While Notre Dame doesn’t have many players that will wow you, the Irish also don’t have any real weakness and should play with great chemistry. Don’t be surprised to see the Irish pull off an upset or two against more talented teams this year, and this looks like a great spot for them.
Pick: Notre Dame 1H moneyline | Notre Dame +8 or better.