Friday College Basketball Odds & Picks: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin, Dayton vs. Saint Louis
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Cassius Winston
Four teams with NCAA Tournament aspirations will be duking it out on national TV tonight. The upstart Dayton Flyers are making a claim that they have the best offense in the entire country, but will it be enough against a Saint Louis team fresh off an upset of Richmond?
In East Lansing, Michigan State will look to right the ship against a red hot Badger team that has three ranked victories since Jan. 3.
Here’s how I’m playing these two games on Friday night.
College Basketball Odds & Picks
Odds as of Friday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Wisconsin at Michigan State
- Spread: Michigan State -9
- Over/Under: 131
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: FS1
The under has paid out in five of Wisconsin’s last six games. During that low-scoring run, totals have failed to exceed 118 points in five of those games. Meanwhile, three of Sparty’s last four games have gone under the number and they’ve held seven teams under 63 points this season.
Will that continue on Friday night?
Michigan State has taken a step back in Big Ten play, at least offensively. Despite the fact that MSU averages 78.9 points per game (16th), in Big Ten play that number has dipped to 72.1 and includes multiple sub-44% shooting nights. The preseason No. 1 team has been enigmatic, to say the least.
Wisconsin, once left for dead after a 5-5 start, now has three ranked wins in the new year and is doing it the “Badger Way.” Low-scoring, methodically paced games have translated to a handful of single-digit wins.
The Badgers won’t deviate from the plan tonight against a Spartan team with a high offensive ceiling. They’ll milk the shot clock and keep Sparty off the offensive glass.
One final historical note in this spot, in the last decade Michigan State and Wisconsin have faced off 20 times in the regular season and the Big Ten tournament combined. With a total set at 131, the under has paid out 13 times and pushed once since 2010.
Unless we have a Michigan State runaway, look for history to repeat itself in East Lansing.
Pick: Under 131
Dayton at Saint Louis
- Spread: Dayton -7.5
- Over/Under: 138.5
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
It appears that the Atlantic 10 may be capable of sending three teams to the Big Dance this March.
Dayton is ranked 13th in the AP poll and a No. 3 seed in many bracket projections. VCU, Saint Louis, Richmond, Rhode Island, and Duquesne are all on the bubble to varying degrees.
That makes this game at Chaifetz Arena in the heart of midtown Saint Louis so important for Travis Ford and his Billikens.
SLU is now 14-3 on the season and 3-1 in A10 play. Winners of six of its last seven, Saint Louis is also a stellar 5-2 ATS when catching points, including outright wins over Belmont, Boston College, Kansas State, and Richmond.
Dayton, still undefeated in regulation (15-2, 4-0), has been favored by six or more points in 11 straight games. During that run, the Flyers have been a respectable 6-4-1 ATS.
UD hasn’t achieved this string of success with any smoke and mirrors. Dayton leads the country in a host of key metrics, including assists per game (19.2), shooting percentage (52.3%) and shooting efficiency (1.243).
Anthony Grant’s team may run through Obi Toppin (19.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg), but has much more than that. Dayton’s entire starting five averages double figures and its three starting guards shoot 39% or better from long range.
If Dayton has any vulnerability, it’s on the low block. The Flyers don’t start any players over 6-foot-9 and they’re fairly pedestrian when it comes to rebounding.
This plays into SLU’s hands. The Billikens are the top offensive rebounding team in the A10 and check in at 11th nationally (11.8 per game).
SLU has two players who average double-doubles, but the Billikens seem to elevate their game when Hasahn French can stay on the court. Since Nov. 20, SLU has only dropped two games, both by single digits.
Over that run French has logged 31 minutes or more 11 times. If he can stay on the court and give them a boost on the offensive glass, 7.5 should be more than enough for this home dog to cover.
Pick: SLU +7.5