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College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Northwestern vs. Michigan State (Saturday, Jan. 15)

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Northwestern vs. Michigan State (Saturday, Jan. 15) article feature image

Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images. Pictured: Marcus Bingham Jr. (Michigan State)

  • Saturday's Michigan State-Northwestern line has been on the move, as updated odds make the Spartans -7.5 favorites over the Wildcats.
  • Although the line has moved, Kyle Remillard still sees value on the Spartans.
  • Check out Remillard's full betting pick and prediction below.

Northwestern vs. Michigan State Odds

Saturday, Jan. 15
12 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network
Northwestern Odds
-110o / -110u
Michigan State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Michigan State has begun to live up to the preseason hype, as the Spartans are 14-2 and have ripped off nine straight wins. The program’s only two losses have come to top-10 teams in Kansas and Baylor.

Throughout the winning streak, the Spartans have cruised past their opponents by an average margin of 10 points per game. The success is thanks to a well-balanced scoring attack, along with a top-30 offensive and defensive efficiency ranking.

Northwestern opened this season 8-2 in non-conference play before dropping four Big Ten games in a row. That early win streak appears to be smoke and mirrors, as seven of those victories came against opponents that rank outside the top 250 in the country.

These two teams met in January, when Michigan State overcame a 13-point first-half deficit on the road to win, 73-67. This matchup will be much different with the game being played at Michigan State.

Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern has now dropped four in a row to Big Ten opponents after a 94-87 double overtime loss to Maryland. Northwestern trailed by six points with 15 seconds remaining before the Terrapins imploded and gave the Wildcats a second life, which they were unable to capitalize on.

Pete Nance led the late comeback charge and led all scorers with 28 points while shooting 10-for-19 from the field. On the season, Nance has averaged 17 points and eight rebounds while shooting 46% from 3-point range.

In the first matchup, the Spartans were able to shut him down, holding Nance to just 4-of-13 from the field.

The Wildcats own a top-50 offensive efficiency ranking and rarely turn the ball over. They have proven outside shooting threats, as they are hitting 35% of their 3-point attempts.

But scoring in the paint has been a struggle, with the group converting on less than 50% of 2-point attempts, which ranks outside the top 215 in the country.

Chris Collins’ squad has squandered on the defensive end of the floor, showing an inability to play defense without fouling. They allow opponents to go to the free throw line on 38% of their field goal attempts, which is 322nd nationally.

In the first game, Northwestern committed 24 fouls leading to 33 Michigan State free throw attempts.

The Wildcats have also struggled at defending the perimeter, as they rank 239th nationally in 3-point percentage. Over the last eight games, opponents are shooting 38% from beyond the arc and are making an average of 10 per game.

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Michigan State Spartans

Tom Izzo has the buzz surrounding his program at a season high after winning nine straight. The Spartans are undefeated at home this season, winning by an average score of 80-67.

Much of that success is thanks to the outside shot, as Sparty has hit 40% on the season (eighth in the country). Though the Spartans don’t take many 3-pointers, the ability to hit at such a high rate creates open spaces for slashers and the big men to operate.

The offense is well balanced, with seven players averaging seven or more points per game. That balance has created phenomenal ball movement across the roster, and has led to 63% of made field goals being assisted on, which is top 10 in the country.

Defensively, the group has held opponents to 29% from 3-point range (27th) and 45% on 2-point attempts. They block shots at a top rate in the country, and don’t allow any easy buckets.

In the first matchup, Michigan State locked down the Wildcats, holding them to 30% from the field and 20% from 3-point land. But Izzo’s squad uncharacteristically allowed 30 free throw attempts, which led to 20 of Northwestern’s 67 points in that game.

Northwestern vs. Michigan State Betting Pick

Jim Root of the Three Man Weave brought up the possibility of Northwestern seeing a 10-game in conference losing streak for the fourth season in a row. A loss in this matchup will have Chris Collins’ squad at the halfway point.

Northwestern has had a 10+ game losing streak in the Big Ten in three straight years. It's not *likely* they do it a 4th time, but it could conceivably come down to hosting Rutgers…

I'm not cheering for it, per se, but I would definitely chuckle if it happened again

— Jim Root (@2ndChancePoints) January 6, 2022

That is likely to become a reality, as Michigan State is poised to run away with this game. The Spartans scored four points in a 10-minute span while playing at Northwestern in the first matchup and were able to overcome a 13-point deficit.

The Spartans were missing open looks from the perimeter, hitting just 7-of-23 from beyond the arc. Michigan State has hit 44% of 59 3-point attempts in its three games since.

The Northwestern offense is reliant on Nance, but Michigan State has the size to shut him down — as it proved in the first matchup.

Expect Izzo to have his squad ready to go from the opening tip after starting slowly the first time these two teams met. I will be eyeing the first half, but I am also laying the points with the Spartans at home to win by double digits.

Pick: Michigan State -8.5 (Play to -10)

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