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Michigan vs. Michigan State Basketball Odds & Pick: Bet the Wolverines Thursday Night

Michigan vs. Michigan State Basketball Odds & Pick: Bet the Wolverines Thursday Night article feature image

Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Isaiah Livers.

  • Michigan and Michigan State will play in an in-state rivalry game in Big Ten action on Thursday night.
  • The Wolverines are coming off one of their worst performances of the season, while the Spartans have been hitting their stride as of late.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the game and explains why the value lies on the Wolverines below.

Michigan vs. Michigan State Odds

Michigan State Odds+12
Michigan Odds-12
Moneyline+575 / -835
Time | TVThursday, 7 p.m. ETESPN2
Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via DraftKings.

One of the craziest things about this insane college basketball season is that Juwan Howard’s Wolverines are championship contenders while Tom Izzo’s Spartans are on the bubble.

As of this morning, Shelby’s Bracket Wag has Michigan as the No. 3 overall seed and Michigan State in the play-in games.

Therefore, this two-game series is huge for both teams. Michigan State is looking to get in the tournament while Michigan is looking to stay on the one line.

While my fandom lies with the Wolverines, I unbiasedly believe Michigan will be fired up after the Illinois loss.

The Teams

The Wolverines have had a stellar season.

Howard’s team has played just two bad games all year. The first was an 18-point road loss to Minnesota on Jan. 16, and the second was the 23-point home loss to Illinois on Tuesday.

However, Michigan responded to the Minnesota loss with a bang. It proceeded to dominate Maryland, scoring 87 points in a 24-point win. Four players scored in the double-digits, with Isaiah Livers dropping 20.

Michigan State has been streaky this year. After starting the season 8-3, it went through a 2-8 stretch between Jan. 8 and Feb. 16. Since then, the Spartans have won 4-of-5 including two wins over AP top-five teams (Illinois and Ohio State).

However, the two massive victories are really the only reason Michigan State is on the bubble. Without those two wins, the Spartans are 12-10 overall and 6-10 in Big Ten play with one good win (Duke on the road).

All-in-all, the Spartans are just not a great team. This recent stretch probably means the Spartans are overvalued right now. Michigan State’s most recent victory was an uninspiring six-point home win over a truly awful Indiana team.

Michigan played Indiana on the road just before that game. It beat the Hoosiers by 16 in a wire-to-wire victory.

The Wolverines were due for a loss, but the team is still head-and-shoulders above the rest of the conference. Michigan is first in the conference in defensive efficiency and third in the conference in offensive efficiency, per KenPom. It’s one of just two teams that rank top-10 in the country in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

The Wolverines just have so many great players, and they play so well together that anyone can be the alpha on any given night. Three different Wolverines have been the highest-scoring player for Michigan over the past six games.

To conclude, the Wolverines are good, and the Spartans aren’t.

Betting Analysis & Pick

As I mentioned above, I believe the Spartans might be overvalued in this one. FanDuel currently has the Wolverines as 12.5-point favorites, but KenPom’s predictions have the Wolverines winning by 15.

I assume that can be attributed to Michigan’s recent loss and Michigan State’s stellar last five games. However, disregarding the past and analyzing just this matchup, I believe it’s clear that the 18-2 Wolverines are so much better than the 14-10 Spartans.

Actually, I think this is a great spot for Michigan to bounce back after a tough loss while Michigan State starts to regress after an impressive run. The hungry dog runs faster.

Look for the Wolverines to play with energy and intensity and then dominate a far inferior Michigan State team.

Pick: Michigan -12.5.

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