College Basketball Odds, Picks for Michigan vs. Michigan State: Where Does Value Lie in Rivalry Game?
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Bingham Jr. (Michigan State)
Michigan vs. Michigan State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Michigan State Odds|
-110o / -110u
One of the fiercest rivalries in the Big Ten and all of college basketball is renewed on Saturday, as a resurgent Michigan visits the Breslin Center and Michigan State.
Both teams played mid-week thrillers, with Michigan overcoming a late seven-point deficit at home against Northwestern to win by two.
Michigan State caught Illinois in Champaign in a dream spot, as the Illini were missing Kofi Cockburn and Andre Curbelo. However, Illinois survived a furious late comeback by the Spartans to win by one, 56-55.
The Wolverines have badly underachieved expectations to this point in the season, but three consecutive league wins has them back over .500 at 4-3 in the Big Ten. They’re also back inside the top 30 in the KenPom efficiency ratings.
Michigan State may have lost in Champaign, but the defensive regression that is coming for this perimeter defense hasn’t exactly been exploited yet. Michigan’s ability to shoot from the perimeter could turn this game into a true tossup.
Neither defense will force turnovers either, so this game should feature plenty of opportunities for points.
The Wolverines have badly struggled to consistently get stops this season, but the offense is still operating at an elite level when fully healthy.
Michigan doesn’t have a ton of depth and has been shorthanded due to COVID and injuries at various points of the year, but it looks like it will have a full complement of pieces available on Saturday in East Lansing.
The Wolverines are still in the top 50 of 3-point shooting, and the Spartans’ defense won’t exploit Michigan’s occasional turnover issues that have creeped into the offense.
That means the Wolverines will get plenty of looks in the post through Hunter Dickinson, where they’re top-50 in post-up frequency and top-60 in generating good looks.
Michigan State can matchup with Marcus Bingham Jr.’s length in the post defensively, and it doesn’t have to double Dickinson. However, it’s not like the Spartans’ defense can’t be exploited inside.
Michigan typically gets great looks at the rim, and MSU is just 52nd in near proximity field goal defense, per Haslametrics.
The Wolverines’ perimeter defense also has a lot of holes this season, and the Spartans are one of the best jump shooting teams in the country. You could argue that MSU is shooting well above expectation from beyond the arc, but this Michigan defense gives up consistently high-quality looks from beyond the arc.
The Wolverines have been lucky defensively to somehow rank 40th in perimeter defense, and given how little they turn opponents over and block shots, Michigan State should get what it wants in the pick-and-roll offense.
Michigan State has quietly put together an impressive resume despite flying under the radar in the Big Ten and the college basketball landscape.
Wins against Loyola Chicago and Connecticut in the non-conference will help come March. The Spartans have four losses, but three are to top-20 opponents and the fourth was a fluke home defeat to an underrated Northwestern team.
The Spartans are top-20 in effective field goal percentage defense and block a lot of shots, but the underlying ShotQuality metrics don’t like them nearly as much as the top line 3-point defensive numbers do.
MSU will allow open 3s and teams just haven’t been making them against Sparty lately. Five of the Spartans’ last six opponents have made less than 33% from beyond the arc. The only team that made 3s was Wisconsin, which posted 74 points on this defense.
Michigan’s offense is finally heating up from beyond the arc after a really poor start to the season. Plus, this middling MSU perimeter defense is due for some long overdue defensive regression.
Michigan vs. Michigan State Betting Pick
If the line got to six or seven here on the Wolverines, I’d bite and take the underdog — even despite the strength of Big Ten home court.
But Michigan State is the marginally better team and has an above-average home-court advantage. With both teams at full strength for this matchup, the 4.5-point opening spread seems about right to me.
The total seems a little short, though. Neither defense does a lot to disrupt the opponent through turnovers, and both rely on being passive yet solid defensively.
That means both teams will get shots on almost every possession.
The Michigan State pace numbers are thrown off by a fluke data point against Illinois. The Illini slowed the game to a crawl because they were shorthanded.
The Spartans should exploit Michigan’s questionable interior defense and continue to shoot well against a Wolverines perimeter defense that has been quite fortunate.
MSU shot really poorly against Illinois on the road, but returns home, where it has shot considerably better from beyond the arc. Plus, the Spartans’ defense has a ton of perimeter defensive regression coming based on how poorly teams have shot against it.
Michigan will get good looks from deep and if the Wolverines convert, this will be played in the 140s.
Pick: Over 139
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