Gonzaga vs Michigan State Odds, Predictions: Friday College Basketball Betting Preview (Nov. 11)
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Rasir Bolton (Gonzaga)
- The No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs and Michigan State Spartans take part in the Peraton Armed Forces Classic in San Diego, CA on Friday, Nov. 11 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
- Gonzaga opened as a 10-point favorite over Michigan State, and public betting pressure has driven that point spread to Gonzaga -11.5 as of Friday afternoon.
- The total opened as high as 155 but has been heavily steamed down to 142.5. Read on to find updated odds, picks and predictions for Gonzaga vs. Michigan State.
Gonzaga vs Michigan State Odds
-115o / -105u
|Michigan State Odds|
-115o / -105u
Although college basketball has been in full swing since Monday, this is the matchup we have been waiting for this week.
Mark Few and the Bulldogs are looking to bounce back from a Sweet 16 exit after falling to Arkansas, 74-68, last season..
This season, Gonzaga will roll out a starting five comprised entirely of returnees, including seniors Rasir Bolton, Julian Strawther, Anton Watson and of course, preseason First Team All-American Drew Timme.
The Bulldogs will board the USS Abraham Lincoln off of a 104-63 thrashing of North Florida that saw six different Gonzaga players score in double figures.
On the other side of the court, the home team Spartans come into the 2022-23 season after being bounced in the second round to eventual Final Four-bound Duke 85-76.
The Spartans will roll out an experienced backcourt duo in A.J. Hoggard and Tyson Walker, who both return from last year’s team for their senior seasons.
The Spartans’ frontcourt will go as far as fifth-year senior Joey Hauser takes it. The 6-foot-9 senior will be using his extra year of eligibility after averaging 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds last season.
Michigan State opened its campaign with a 73-55 home win against Northern Arizona, which was an impressive start for Hauser, who finished the game with 18 points and 10 boards.
Will Michigan State be able to answer the call defensively against a lethal Gonzaga offense? Will Gonzaga be able to take advantage of its superiority down low?
Let’s dive in.
Gonzaga comes into this season with an experienced group that is hungry to get it back to the Final Four.
The Bulldogs rank 18th in the country in minutes continuity at 62.7%. Much of this continuity is in part due to their starting lineup made up entirely of players on last year’s roster.
Most notable is the 6-foot-10 senior Timme, who is coming off of a 2021-22 season in which he averaged 18.4 points and 6.8 rebounds.
With the departure of superstar freshman Chet Holmgren to the NBA draft, Timme’s usage will only grow from last season’s mark of 29.6%, which was 63rd nationally.
That’s a scary realization for Gonzaga opponents.
Drew Timme came up HUGE in the clutch for @ZagMBB 😤
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 20, 2022
As stated above, this usage will be emphasized by Few against an inexperienced Spartans frontcourt. Timme will look to exploit both Sissoko and freshman Jaxon Kohler early and often.
Look for Timme to force Izzo to go to his bench early in this contest, as Timme is a master at drawing fouls (6.3 per contest last season, which was 31st nationally).
In the backcourt, Bolton will move from SG to PG to replace Andrew Nembhard.
Bolton will bring a plethora of experience to the point guard position after averaging 11.2 points per game in 27.3 minutes last season.
Bolton’s familiarity with Gonzaga’s offensive tempo will do wonders for the Bulldogs in this matchup.
Last year, Gonzaga ranked fifth nationally in tempo, averaging 72.5 possessions per game. With Bolton at the helm, the Bulldogs show no sign of slowing down, posting 76 total possessions in their season opener against North Florida that resulted in 104 points.
Michigan State and Izzo are notorious for wanting to slow their opponents down — particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
Gonzaga’s returning production has the experience necessary to speed up an otherwise sluggish Michigan State team.
That, combined with a massive mismatch inside gives the Bulldogs a significant advantage on Friday night.
In a season in which there is no clear front runner in the Big Ten, Michigan State can never be counted out as long as Tom Izzo is at the helm.
Izzo’s first order of business will be to replace the production that the Spartans lost — SG Max Christie, SF Gabe Brown and C Marcus Bingham Jr.
At the SG and SF positions, the Spartans will go next-man-up with their returning senior duo of Walker and Malik Hall.
Walker was a significant contributor for the Spartans last season, averaging 8.2 points per game in 22.6 minutes.
Hall has been described by Izzo as “OKG” — “Our Kinda Guy.” Hall was everywhere in Michigan State’s season opener, posting five points, seven rebounds, three blocks and an assist.
— The Mitten Sports Network (@Mitten___Sports) December 30, 2019
The biggest question mark for the Spartans is at the center position. Bingham departs after starting 32 of the Spartans’ 35 totals contests last season.
In steps 6-foot-9, 240-pound junior Mady Sissoko to try and fill the void that Bingham has left behind.
Unfortunately for Izzo, everything besides Sissoko’s frame is unproven. Sissoko averaged just 4.5 minutes per contest last season, a number that will increase in a hurry.
Nice active night for Mady Sissoko. pic.twitter.com/t5B8WW6Lac
— Trevor (@TrevorDeBo) November 2, 2022
Sissoko will have to learn on the fly with a matchup against All-American Timme slated on Friday night.
It was clear in their season opener that Hauser is going to be crucial to the Spartans’ offensive success. Hauser had a 21% usage rate against Northern Arizona, up from 17.2% last season.
Just as is the case with Sissoko, Hauser also has a daunting defensive matchup in Anton Watson.
Watson was a master last year at getting his opponents in foul trouble, drawing 4.8 fouls per contest. Watson picked up right where he left off defensively in the Bulldogs’ opener against North Florida, racking up five total steals to go with four defensive rebounds.
For the Spartans to have success in the frontcourt, they will need Hauser to step into the star role Izzo believes he can fill, and for Sissoko to grow up right before our eyes.
This mismatch in the frontcourt will put a ton of pressure on the experienced backcourt of Michigan State.
Although Hoggard only logged 17 minutes in the Spartans’ season opener, he had a usage rate of 41%, which led the team. Hoggard did a lot from a facilitating perspective (eight assists), but will need to step things up in the scoring category if the Spartans are to keep pace with Gonzaga.
The same can be said about Walker, who was only able to muster six total points despite 32 total minutes.
If Michigan State brings this same offensive style into Friday night’s matchup, it could be a long one for the Spartans.
Defensively, you can always count on a Izzo-led unit to be sound fundamentally.
In addition, the Spartans will look to slow down Gonzaga’s lightning fast pace. Michigan State ranked 147th in tempo last season, averaging just 67.5 possessions per game.
Dictating the pace will be crucial for a Michigan State team that is looking to get more offensive production out of its frontcourt.
Gonzaga vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
When handicapping the Armed Forces Classic, it is important to note the unique circumstances.
Because these two teams will be playing outside on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, it is important to note the weather conditions. Weather forecasts predict temperatures in the low 60s with minimal wind gusts at tip-off.
A men’s college basketball game has been played on the deck of an aircraft carrier only two times historically.
In 2011, North Carolina defeated Michigan State 67-55 and in 2012 Syracuse defeated San Diego State 62-49. Both of these matchups went under the projected totals.
These games have regularly had the outdoor conditions effect some aspect of play. In 2012, two scheduled games were cancelled due to condensation on the court.
Additionally, during the matchup between Syracuse and San Diego State, the wood court began bubbling near one basket.
Although these situations are impossible to predict, I recommend staying away from the over in this matchup, given the uncertainty that comes with playing a game outdoors.
KenPom predicts this matchup 82-74 in favor of the Bulldogs, a number with which I am aligned.
Look for this number to open between six and eight points, favoring the Bulldogs.
Pick: Gonzaga -6 (Play to -8)
As of writing, there was no line available, but for more info on this game, you can check out our staff mega guide where all the experts are aligned on one pick on the total.