Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans Pick – Big Ten Title Predictions
Michigan Wolverines (28-5 SU, 19-14 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (27-6 SU, 23-10 ATS)
When: Sunday, March 17, 2019 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
Point Spread: MICH +1 / MICH ST -1 (Bovada Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 132.5
Last Time Out: Michigan beat Minnesota 76-49; Michigan State defeated Wisconsin 67-55
Scouting the Wolverines:
The Wolverines had an easy time in their semifinal game, blowing out the Minnesota Golden Gophers and ending their magical run. This win mainly was so easy because the Wolverines completely locked down defensively. When you allow just 19 points in a half to a team, you are likely to have an excellent chance to win, and that is precisely what they did. Now looking for another Big Ten title, the Wolverines will have to play their in-state rivals once again.
Scouting the Spartans:
The Spartans also had an easy time advancing to the finals, beating the Badgers by 12. While they did not dominate their opponent as much as Michigan did, they still played a complete game and now are rewarded with a chance to win the first of hopefully two titles. The Spartans are projected to be a 2-seed in the Big Dance, and likely are locked in at that spot. It does not appear as if they can move up a tier, but even with a loss, they still have beaten Michigan 2 out of the 3 times and should not drop to a 3-seed.
Head to Head:
The Spartans have dominated the Wolverines as of late, winning both games played against them this season and 7 out of the last 10. However, those games aside, it is extremely difficult to beat the same team three times in the same season, but it is the task ahead of Michigan State.
Notable Betting Trends:
The Spartans also have a track record of covering in this series and have managed to do so in 7 of the 10 games. Also, recently when these two teams get together, trends show that a lot of points are put up on the board. The over in 8-2 in the last 10 and 5-0 in the previous five. Another interesting trend shows that Michigan has yet to cover a game against the spread when they allow more than 70 points. They are 0-5 on the season, and just 1-4 straight up in the same category.
Michigan will Cover if:
They can outrebound the Spartans. The one common denominator in the two losses to the Spartans is the difference in rebounding. In the game at Michigan, the Spartans outrebounded them 31 to 28. In the game at Michigan State, the Spartans outrebounded the Wolverines 42-18. This pretty much says it all as Michigan failed to get second-chance points in either game and just allowed their rivals to walk all over them. This, of course, cannot happen again on the biggest stage and if it does, the Michigan players will have to live with the fact that they went 0-3 to their biggest and most hated rivals.
Michigan State will Cover if:
They have a well-balanced scoring outing. There is no question that Cassius Winston is the leader of this team. He is leading the team in points per game (19.0) an assists per game (7.5). The question will be, “Who else will step up to help this Spartans offense thrive?” Nick Ward can be the answer to this question if he can manage to get out of his slump. Ward recently returned to the lineup for the Big Ten tournament but has so far not been a factor in the Spartans offense. He scored 8 points in their quarterfinal game against the Ohio State Buckeyes and 2 points against the Wisconsin Badgers in the semifinals. If Ward can produce the numbers he did before he was out, the Spartans will have more than enough offensive firepower to down the Wolverines for the 3rd time in a row.
Matt’s Pick for Michigan vs. Michigan State:
With this being the third meeting between these two teams, it should make for a very entertaining Big Ten championship.
MyBookie (Huge Deposit Bonus) has the Spartans opening as a 1-point favorite and the over/under is set at 132.5. I love the Spartans in this game as Michigan has not had an answer to their rivals at all this year. Take the Spartans to win and cover in this game and to lift the Big Ten trophy.