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Thursday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Michigan State vs. Ohio State

Thursday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Michigan State vs. Ohio State article feature image
Credit:

Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: E.J. Liddell.

  • Ohio State is favored at home on Thursday night against Michigan State.
  • Neither team has been playing especially well, which turns Alex Hinton toward the total.
  • Check out his pick and breakdown below.

Michigan State vs. Ohio State Odds

Thursday, March 3
7 p.m. ET
ESPN
Michigan State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+6.5
-110
142.5
-110o / -110u
+230
Ohio State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-6.5
-110
142.5
-110o / -110u
-300
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Michigan State and Ohio State share a mutual hatred of Michigan, but they aren’t too fond of each other either.

The Spartans just played Michigan on Tuesday and fell 87-70, dropping to 19-10 on the season and 10-8 in Big Ten play. While MSU beat Purdue last Saturday, it has now lost six of its last eight games.

Ohio State closes out the regular season against Michigan on Sunday but first welcomes MSU to Columbus. The Buckeyes have issues of their own to sort out. First, there was the 15-point loss at Maryland on Sunday. Then, the Buckeyes fell to Nebraska 78-70 on Tuesday at home. Those were two head-scratching performances against Big Ten bottom dwellers following the win at Illinois.

Ohio State has lost three out of its last five and is now 18-9 overall and 11-7 in Big Ten play.

Due to postponements, Michigan State and Ohio State had to play just two days before its scheduled matchups. As a result, Michigan State is in the middle of a stretch of four games in nine days, while Ohio State is playing four in 10. It’s also midterms week for MSU.

Michigan State leads the all-time 73-58 and has won 11 out of the last 14 meetings. The Spartans are getting six points on the road, but I have my eyes on the total.


Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State does not have an alpha on this year’s team like a Miles Bridges, Kalin Lucas or Cassius Winston in years past. However, the Spartans come at you in waves with a lot of capable players. Michigan State has eight players averaging between six and 11 points per game.

Gabe Brown leads the team in scoring at 11.4 per game, but he has been in a funk recently. Since the beginning of February, the senior is averaging 7.6 points while shooting 34.8% from the field. He did have 12 points against Michigan, a sign he may be snapping out of it.

Junior point guard Tyson Walker has carried the team of late. He had 26 points two weeks ago against Illinois, hit the game-winning 3-pointer against Purdue on Saturday and had 11 points and four assists against Michigan. He’s averaging 12.8 points in his last six games, up from his season average of 8.1. Walker has been playing through a knee injury and is questionable for Thursday.

Michigan State ranks 45th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Spartans rank 17th nationally in 3-point shooting. Junior forward Malik Hall is shooting 49.1% from beyond the arc, while senior Joey Hauser is at 40.8% on the year.

Michigan State has slipped to 51st in adjusted defensive efficiency thanks to a string of poor defensive performances. In its last four games, MSU is allowing 79.2 points per game and is 1-3 in that span. The Spartans are 18th in block rate. Center Marcus Bingham averages 2.3 blocks to go along with 8.7 points and 5.8 rebounds.

The Spartans rank fourth in the Big Ten in rebounding and out-rebound opponents by 4.5 rebounds per game.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes will come into this matchup a bit beaten up.

Forward Zed Key injured his ankle against Maryland and did not play on Tuesday against Nebraska. His status for the MSU game is unclear. Key is an integral part of Ohio State’s defense. Without him for the majority of the Maryland game and all of Nebraska, the Terrapins and Huskers shot 47.7% against OSU.

Forward Kyle Young stepped into the starting lineup in Key’s place against Nebraska but played just eight minutes because of an illness. He should return against MSU. If Young and Key are out again, though, it would put an extra burden on forward E.J. Liddell.

Liddell is certainly capable of handling it. The junior averages 19.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks. If Johnny Davis and Keegan Murray were not having National Player of the Year-caliber seasons, Liddell would have an excellent case for Big Ten Player of the Year. Against Nebraska, he had 27 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.

Guard Malaki Branham is averaging 12.7 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 44.4% from beyond the arc. Key averages 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds and Young 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds. Guard Jamari Wheeler averages seven points and a team-leading 3.1 assists.

Ohio State ranks 12th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Buckeyes are 23rd in effective field goal percentage and 40th in 2-point field goal percentage. Liddell, Key and Young all make 55% or better of their 2-point attempts.

Ohio State does not have great size and can be taken advantage of on the glass. The Buckeyes rank 203rd in defensive rebounding percentage and 201st in rebounds per game. Iowa and Maryland took advantage of that with 20 and 11 offensive rebounds, respectively.

Ohio State is 118th in adjusted defensive efficiency and not very disruptive on that end. The Buckeyes are 327th in turnover percentage and 338th in steals percentage.


Michigan State vs. Ohio State Betting Pick

While MSU has had the Buckeyes number of late, it is 1-5 in its last six road games. The one win was a two-point victory over Maryland. Ohio State started 12-0 at home but has lost two of its last three at Value City Arena.

Given the way both teams are playing, it’s hard to trust either side. However, I do trust there will be a lot of points on the board.

Ohio State has two players capable of getting 30 in Liddell and Branham. Branham is averaging 20 points per game over his last six games and had 31 against Illinois. Additionally, OSU’s games have reached at least 148 in three of the last four.

Three of Michigan State’s last four games have reached at least 146 points. In this spot, we only need 143 points. Given the way each team has played defensively of late, a little over 70 points apiece is more than reasonable.

Pick: Over 142.5 (Play to 145)

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