Michigan State will head to Ann Arbor in hopes of sweeping the season series against rival Michigan on Saturday night. 

Tom Izzo’s squad defeated the Wolverines 81-62 earlier this year in East Lansing. Michigan State still has a lot to play for in regards to seeding for the NCAA Tournament and Big Ten Tournament, while the Wolverines will be mostly playing for pride after falling to 3-11 in Big Ten play in their most recent game.

Let’s break down this matchup ahead of tipoff at 8 p.m. ET: 

Michigan State vs. Michigan Betting Odds

Spread: Michigan State -5 (ESPN Bet)

Total: Over/Under 143 points (ESPN Bet)

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Betting trends to know for Michigan State

Michigan State is…

  • 14-10-1 against the spread
  • 2-4-1 against the spread on the road
  • 13-7 against the spread as a favorite
  • 7-6-1 against the spread in Big Ten games

Betting trends to know for Michigan

Michigan is…

  • 7-18 against the spread
  • 4-8 against the spread at home
  • 3-8 against the spread as an underdog
  • 1-1 against the spread as a home underdog
  • 3-11 against the spread in Big Ten games
  • 0-17 against the spread in losses this year

3 notes for the game

Lessons from the first meeting

These teams have already met once this season — a 81-62 victory for the Spartans in East Lansing that took place less than a month ago. Michigan shot 40% from 3-point range in that game, but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep up with the rival Spartans.

Michigan State scored over 1.3 points per possession in that win. The Spartans shot an astounding 25-of-40 from inside the arc and 9-of-21 from downtown. Michigan couldn’t do much of anything besides make 3-pointers and get to the line (although it missed 12 free throw attempts in that game which would have made things a bit closer).

It’s also worth noting that Michigan will have Dug McDaniel in this game. McDaniel, Michigan’s starting point guard, was suspended for the first matchup in East Lansing. However, McDaniel’s presence hasn’t always been a good thing for the Wolverines’ offense in Big Ten play. He’s been in-and-out 0f the lineup due to his road-game-only suspension, but McDaniel has a true shooting percentage of just 43.5% in 9 Big Ten contests this year. Michigan will need McDaniel to return to form if it’s going to hang around in this game.

Michigan State has been questionable on the road

Michigan State is a bonafide top-25 team, but the Spartans have struggled a bit on the road this season. They have a couple of recent away losses to Minnesota and Wisconsin. They also dropped road games to Illinois and Northwestern back in January. Overall, Michigan State is just 2-4 in Big Ten road contests this season despite being the higher-rated (per KenPom) team in all but 1 of those contests.

Michigan State’s performance against the spread also backs up its road woes. The Spartans are just 2-4-1 ATS in away games this season. They did cover on the road as a favorite in their most recent game against Penn State, however.

Michigan has been largely uncompetitive … with 1 notable exception

Michigan has not covered the spread in a single one of its losses this season. The Wolverines either pull off an upset — like they did against Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago and against Iowa in December — or they lose and fail to cover. There’s not much in-between. Overall, Michigan has lost 12 of its last 14 games. Amongst those 12 losses, the last 7 have all been by double digits.

Michigan’s best performance of Big Ten play came in a similar spot to this one, however. The Wolverines defeated rival Ohio State at home back on Jan. 15 thanks to a poor 3-point shooting performance (3-of-25) by the Buckeyes. Because this is a rivalry game, I am expecting Michigan to play with a little more effort against the Spartans than it has been.

1 pick for this game

Under 143 points. This is the exact total these teams hit in their first meeting earlier this season. They barely combined for 143 points in that contest despite the Spartans taking 21 3-pointers — well above their usual number — and making 9 of them. Michigan also shot the ball well and averaged over 1 point per possession. Neither of these teams play at a particularly fast tempo or get to the foul line with any regularity. It’s possible both teams have strong 3-point showings again, but I’d bet against both teams being over 40% again. 

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