Michigan State vs. LSU Betting Guide: How Havoc, Depth Can Decide This NCAA Tournament Matchup

Michigan State vs. LSU Betting Guide: How Havoc, Depth Can Decide This NCAA Tournament Matchup article feature image
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USA Today Sports. Pictured: Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, LSU guard Tremont Waters

#2 Michigan State vs. #3 LSU, NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

  • Spread: Michigan State -6.5
  • Over/Under: 149.5
  • Location: Washington D.C.
  • Date: Friday, March 29
  • Time: 7:09 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

>> All odds as of 4:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


This will be the first time Michigan State and LSU have met since 1979.

Magic Johnson led the Spartans to the national title that year, beating a Dale Brown-led LSU team in the Sweet 16. But there’s a bit of a coaching difference in the 2019 version, with the esteemed Tom Izzo taking on interim coach Tony Benford.

LSU (19-14-1 against the spread) — which did not cover against Yale or Maryland — has a physical brand of play that relies on offensive rebounds and steals. Michigan State (25-11 ATS), meanwhile, leads the nation in assists per field goal made and has a top-10 rating in adjusted efficiency on both sides of the ball.

Will Michigan State’s Depth Be a Factor?

While the coaching advantage sways heavily in favor of Michigan State, there is a discrepancy on the number of players getting minutes.

LSU relies on a deep rotation, with at least 12 minutes of play from eight different players in the Maryland game. Michigan State has a rotation of only six players, with Xavier Tillman and Nick Ward at center accounting for more than 50% of the playing time with starters Cassius Winston, Matt McQuaid, Aaron Henry and Kenny Goins.

The loss of Kyle Ahrens to injury has left the Spartans short on bench minutes.

Havoc Is Key for LSU

The knock on the Big Ten is the number of athletic teams to challenge Michigan State. The Spartans are one of the best teams in the country in plenty of advanced statistics. They’re also a top 25 team in free throws, 3-point percentage, offensive rebounds and 2-point defense and blocks.

On paper, the Spartans have a massive advantage in all areas except one: Turnovers.

Minnesota was able to generate 26 points off 22 turnovers against Michigan State in the Round of 32. And LSU ranks sixth in steal percentage, which could be troublesome for a Michigan State team that ranks 207th in turnover percentage. The Spartans also do not create any havoc on the other side of the ball, with a rank of 344th in opponent turnovers.

If LSU wins this game, expect the Tigers to take advantage of turnovers and a shallow depth chart against Michigan State.

LSU Is Getting How Many Points?

The last time LSU lost by more than six points? Nov. 25, also known as the Sunday of Thanksgiving week.

Even in losses to Houston, Florida, Florida State and Arkansas, the Tigers were able to keep it close. And while Michigan State is the more talented team, the Spartans have yet to face anything in the havoc department like LSU.

The amount of points is begging for action on LSU. I’ll be betting the Tigers to get 20-plus turnovers and a cover.

THE PICK: LSU +6

Our Projected Odds: Michigan State vs. LSU

These ratings were built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.

  • Spread: Michigan State -5.5
  • Total: 147.5
  • Proj Score: Michigan State 76.5 | LSU 71
  • Win Probability: Michigan State 70% | LSU 30%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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