Michigan Wolverines vs. Michigan State Spartans Pick
Michigan Wolverines (26-4 SU, 17-13 ATS) vs. Michigan State Spartans (24-6 SU, 21-9 ATS)
Where: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Michigan
Point Spread: MICH +4 / MICH ST -4 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 135.5
Last Time Out: Michigan beat Maryland 69-62; Michigan State defeated Nebraska 91-76
Scouting the Wolverines:
The Wolverines head into the final game of the season tied with Purdue and Michigan State for the top seed in the Big Ten. Michigan is currently on a two-game winning streak after their most recent home loss to the Spartans and with a win would clinch a share for the Big Ten regular-season title. In their last game against Maryland, they were very balanced on the offensive end. Four different players scored in double figures; however, it only led to 69 total points. Michigan is currently projected as a two-seed by Joe Lunardi, but with a few more quality wins they could potentially jump to a one-seed. Especially if they go into East Lansing, come out with a win and then go on to win the Big Ten tournament.
Scouting the Spartans:
The Spartans bounced back from a road loss to Indiana by crushing Nebraska this past week. The Spartans were on fire as they hung 91 points on the Cornhuskers, shot 52.5% from the field, and shot 50% from the three-point line. This game shows the rest of the country how good this team can be. Despite facing a lackluster opponent, the Spartans certainly have the talent to make a legit run for the National Title.
Head to Head:
Just a couple weeks ago the Spartans went into Ann Arbor and walked away with a 77-70-point win. With that win, the Spartans snapped a three-game losing streak to their in-state rivals. They are however only 2-2 straight up in their last four games at home against the Wolverines. In fact, the road team has won 6 of the previous 10 meetings.
Notable Betting Trends:
An interesting betting trend in this game shows us that when these teams get together, a lot of points are scored. The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings overall and when they play in East Lansing the over in 3-1 in the past four meetings. Both teams are coming off a win, and Michigan is 1-1 at home straight up and 0-2 against the spread when they come off a win by 5-9 points. Michigan State is 4-2 on the road both straight up and against the spread when coming off a 10-19-point win.
Michigan will Cover if:
They can contain Cassius Winston. “Containing” is a strong word because Winston is almost guaranteed to get his points. The Junior averages 18.8 points for the Spartans and is among the best guards in the entire country. Therefore, Michigan must do everything they can to frustrate him. Winston torched the Wolverines for 27 in the first meeting, so look for Michigan to change their defensive scheme around the point guard and defend him much better.
Another thing the Wolverines can improve is forcing turnovers. They forced just 6 in the first meeting, meaning they were unable to get enough fast break points. Especially in the dying moments of the game, Michigan was not able to get the stops they needed, which really cost them in the end.
Michigan State will Cover if:
The Spartans shoot lights out from the field. This is an obvious one, but the Spartans come into this game as one of the best shooting teams in the nation. They have shot 50% or better in two of their last three games. One being in the win at Michigan and the other in a loss at Indiana. I have already mentioned the importance of Cassius Winston so the Spartans will need at least one other guy to step up in this fierce rivalry game. Speaking of the “other guys”, four Michigan State players scored in double-figures at Michigan, so look for a similar type of balanced offense to be relevant this time around.
Matt’s Pick for Michigan vs. Michigan State:
Both teams are incredibly talented and very well coached, making this a very tough game to pick versus the spread. Given that a ton of points are scored when these teams meet, the over is looking like the best choice. MyBookie has the total set at 135.5, but this feels like a game that will easily hit the 70-point mark on both sides.