Texas Southern’s second-half surge against Norfolk State was enough to give the Tigers the win in the First Four on Thursday. Their reward? Texas Southern gets to face No. 1 Michigan in the first round of the tournament on Saturday.

Let’s dive deep into this Michigan vs. Texas Southern matchup complete with odds, analysis, and ATS betting picks.

Michigan vs. Texas Southern Pick

Michigan (20-4) has been one of the best teams in the country from the start of the season. Juwan Howard’s squad has looked like a legitimate championship contender from an early point. Meanwhile, Texas Southern (17-8) is looking to make some noise against the heavily-favored Wolverines

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Most brackets will have Michigan advancing past Texas Southern in the first round, but picking the Wolverines to lose early in the NCAA Tournament seems to be a trendy pick.

People are falling back on the “chalk” with teams like Gonzaga, Baylor, and Illinois all coming into March Madness red hot. To avoid going all No. 1’s in the Final Four, many people are taking out Michigan.

Michigan vs. Texas Southern Odds

Here are the latest odds on Michigan vs. Texas Southern via DraftKings Sportsbook:

Michigan is -26 on the spread line against Texas Southern. The Wolverines are -10000 on the moneyline compared to the Tigers who are at +1600. The total on this game is set to 142 points.

The point spread is set to an insanely high number, but this makes sense given the seeding. 1 vs. 16 matchups are generally around the 20-point mark, but oddsmakers have this one a little bit higher up.

It’s not surprising to see oddsmakers set this number to 26. Michigan State emerged from the best conference in college basketball — the Big Ten.

Texas Southern, on the other hand, is the champion of the Southwest Athletic Conference, the fourth-worst conference in college hoops according to RPI.

Still, with all this said, covering 26 points is never easy.

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Why Michigan Will Cover

Michigan is an absolute wrecking crew when they are playing up to their full potential. They have talent and depth at nearly every position on the floor. Unfortunately, they will be without senior leader Isaiah Livers for the time being. Again, they should have no problem winning this game, but going deep into the NCAA Tournament is another story entirely.

As far as the spread goes, Michigan has performed well when entering games as a massive favorite. The Wolverines are 6-1 ATS when they are a favorite of 10 or more points. Of course, this spread isn’t just in double digits, it’s all the way up to 26.

But if Michigan plays their game — rebounding, scoring in the paint, getting to the free throw line — they should have no problem covering this spread.

The Wolverines have a distinct advantage inside with 7-foot-1 freshman Hunter Dickinson who averaged 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds en route to All-Big 10 honors.

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Why Texas Southern Will Cover

Anyone who is betting on Texas Southern in this game is betting the points more than they are the Tigers. The chances of Texas Southern winning this game outright are tiny. After all, a 16 seed has only beaten a No. 1 seed once in the history of the NCAA Tournament — UMBC over Virginia in 2018.

Livers’ absence is one big reason to back the Tigers here. Livers is a key player for the Wolverines and they could struggle to find a rhythm without him. A slow start to the game or a dry spell in the second half could be enough of an edge for Texas Southern to cover this spread.

It’s also worth acknowledging the fact that Texas Southern already got their feet wet in the First Four on Thursday. We have never seen a 16 seed win after winning a First Four game, but they don’t need to win. Just cover.

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Michigan vs. Texas Southern ATS Prediction

Michigan finished their year strong and even without Livers, they are one of the most dangerous teams in the country. They have weapons at every position and should be able to overpower Texas Southern.

Still, we have a hard time getting over this massive spread. No. 1 seeds went 1-3 ATS in 2019 and we expect that same trend to continue in 2021.

Even if the Wolverines take a big lead early, we can expect them to take their foot off the gas pedal in the second half. The last thing they need is to have another key player go down to injury.

Michigan vs. Texas Southern ATS Pick: Texas Southern +26