Michigan State vs. UConn Odds & Picks for Battle 4 Atlantis Semifinals: Betting Value on Huskies as Point Spread Swells and Over/Under Falls
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Adama Sanogo (21) of the UConn Huskies.
Editors Note (10:03 a.m. ET): This Michigan State vs. UConn betting preview was originally published on Thursday, Nov. 25 at approximately 6 a.m. ET, once odds were posted for the game.
During the course of the last few hours, the over/under has fallen precipitously from 141.5 at open to 138.5 as of writing. The point spread has also swelled, ranging from UConn -1 (-115) to UConn -2 (-112) across the betting market.
Michigan State vs. UConn Odds
|Michigan State Odds|
-108o / -112u
-108o / -112u
In the first game of the Battle 4 Atlantis semifinals, Michigan State will battle Connecticut after both teams had noteworthy wins vs. Loyola Chicago and Auburn, respectively.
The field for this tournament is tough, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Both of these teams run at a speedy pace on the offensive end and are successful on the glass.
Guards drive college basketball, which means the Huskies could have an advantage over the Spartans.
Tom Izzo has a solid team in East Lansing. MSU lost a few key pieces from last season, but has a talented freshmen class, as well a strong core of veterans, like Joey Hauser, Marcus Bingham Jr., Malik Hall, Julius Marble and Gabe Brown.
This team dropped an early game to Kansas but has since added two distinguished wins over Butler and Loyola Chicago.
Their defense is the key to their success. They held one of the most efficient offenses (Loyola) to 61 points. They had the rebounding advantage and forced 14 turnovers from one of the most disciplined offenses in college hoops.
Still, outside of Jacob Hutson, the Ramblers do not have the brute force down low that Connecticut has. This essentially removes any advantage MSU had over Loyola with size because the same does not apply to UConn.
MSU’s most concerning issue at the moment is turnover percentage. The Spartans have turned it over on 21.7% of their offensive possessions, which ranks 275th in the country.
Unfortunately for them, UConn has a more tenacious and frankly, better defense than the Ramblers do. The Huskies have posts who can body up Bingham and the other Spartan bigs.
Seeing how the Huskies rank third in defensive turnovers this season, they will be able to cause issues for the MSU offense.
As mentioned above, UConn has a great defense. It averages steals on 13% of their defensive possession and has the size to remove Bingham’s impact on the game from the offensive end.
This is a clear advantage to the Huskies, even if they have tired legs from their double overtime contest with Auburn.
Connecticut can also hit its 3-pointers, unlike the Spartans. The Huskies shot 57.7% from the floor against Auburn. These mainly came from three sources: Jordan Hawkins, R.J. Cole and Tyler Polley.
MSU lacks the defensive capability to negate these three weapons. Tyson Walker may be able to guard one tightly, but they move the ball quickly enough, where it should not matter.
MSU cannot hit its 3s, so there is a clear discrepancy between the two. If UConn builds a wide margin, the Spartans will struggle to come back.
Adama Sanogo can bash with MSU’s big men. He is averaging 20.6 points per game, which is unlike the posts the Spartans have seen this season. He has also only missed two free throws on the year.
About 25% of MSU’s defensive possessions result in free throws, so this is another weakness Danny Hurley and the Huskies can exploit. If they can draw enough fouls to get at least one Spartan forward into foul trouble, they build a further edge in the paint.
Michigan State vs. UConn Betting Pick
Both of these teams are going to potentially make NCAA Tournament runs. UConn looks a bit more complete at this early stage of the season. The Huskies have a much more balanced team.
MSU is skewed to mostly have strength in its forwards. The depth is lacking in the backcourt.
This is not a problem for the Huskies.
Since UConn can also make its 3s and turn teams over consistently on the defensive end, it should be able to cover this number and win outright.
Pick: UConn +1 (Play to -1.5)
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