Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Michigan State Spartans vs. Wisconsin Badgers Betting Preview

Friday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Michigan State Spartans vs. Wisconsin Badgers Betting Preview article feature image

Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gabe Brown

  • Michigan State takes on Wisconsin in Friday's Big Ten showdown.
  • The Badgers are four-point favorites in this intriguing showdown taking place in Madison.
  • Doug Ziefel breaks down the matchup below and explains why he's backing the underdog Spartans.

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Odds

Friday, Jan. 21
9 p.m. ET
Michigan State Odds
-110o / -110u
Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Big Ten will enter the spotlight as Tom Izzo and his Spartans square off against the red-hot Johnny Davis and the Wisconsin Badgers.

Interestingly enough, these two teams' most recent games came against the same opponent, Northwestern.

The Spartans lost their game to the Wildcats by two points and were fortunate that the margin was that small considering how badly they were outrebounded. On the other hand, Wisconsin continued to shoot the lights out, but only squeaked by with a six-point victory.

The recency bias from these two matchups has created slight inflation in this line that we need to capitalize on, and the numbers may prove how live the dog is in this matchup.

Expect Sparty's Efficiency to Continue

Believe it or not, Michigan State is the better offensive team in this matchup. The Spartans may be outranked in adjusted offensive efficiency, but that doesn't tell the whole story. What stands out the most is that they are 56th in effective field goal percentage, whereas Wisconsin is 238th.

Michigan State's effective field goal percentage is very telling to the make-up of this team. The Spartans are obviously well-coached, but that is reflected on the court through their patience and discipline to create quality shots constantly.

The execution of those quality looks has come at a very high percentage from behind the arc. Sparty is ninth in the country in 3-point shooting percentage, and while they shoot about four fewer threes per game than average, they have plenty of guys who make them count.

Their leading scorer Gabe Brown is the main supplier of those deep balls as he drains them at a 39 percent clip. However, that percentage is somehow dwarfed by his teammates, Malik Hall and Tyson Walker, who have each shot 56 and 57 percent from behind the arc.

There are even more numbers to deflate Wisconsin in this matchup. The Badgers are 36th in adjusted defensive efficiency. but are also 142nd in effective field goal percentage allowed and are 165th in 3-point percentage allowed.

The Wisconsin defense is held up by the pace their offense establishes, which allows this slightly above average defensive team to execute better as teams are lulled into slow half-court sets. However, Michigan State is not one of those teams. Sparty is 43rd in pace. That pace could disrupt the Badgers on both ends of the floor.

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Will the Badgers Come Back to Earth?

Davis and the Badgers deserve all the credit where credit is due. They have caught fire and shot exceedingly well against every quad one-caliber team they have faced. There also may not be a more prominent name in college basketball at the moment than Davis. His sharpshooting and timely heroics have vaulted him to the top as he is now the odds-on favorite to take home the Wooden Award.

However, Michigan State is their toughest defensive matchup since they played Houston, where the Badgers managed to pull off the upset by a score of 65-63.

Sparty may not be to Houston's level on defense, but they are very close. Michigan State is 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Unlike Wisconsin, their shot percentages are in line with that rating. They rank 25th in 3-point percentage allowed, 26th in 2-point percentage allowed, and are even ninth block percentage.

Wisconsin has shot well for stretches in every ball game, but the numbers show they are just as streaky as any other team. The Badgers are 270th in 3-point percentage and 202nd in 2-point percentage. All signs point to some shooting regression from Davis and the rest of the Badgers.

Michigan State vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick

Wisconsin is on a seven-game win streak, has a recent common opponent victory, and has the hottest player in the sport. That is the recipe for an inflated line. I'm backing the Spartans to get the job done here as not only do the numbers make them a very live dog, but Wisconsin is due to come crashing down.

Pick: Michigan State +4.5 (Play to 3)

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 21, 2024 UTC