The Michigan State Spartans and the Minnesota Golden Gophers go head to head this afternoon. Who will get the money as Big Ten Conference action opens in this early tip?

The No. 11 Minnesota Golden Gophers have notched eight straight victories, with a 4-3 spread record in the stretch’s seven ‘board’ contests. Monday afternoon’s NCAA Basketball betting slate has Tubby Smith’s crew hosting the No. 19 Michigan State Spartans, who are 3-1 ATS in their last four meetings with Minnesota.

Golden Gophers cruise at home

Image previewMinnesota wrapped up its non-conference schedule with a 75-50 victory on Dec. 22 against the Lafayette Leopards, failing to collect as 30-point home ‘chalk.’ The Golden Gophers outrebounded Lafayette, 40-22, while leveraging its bench throughout the affair.

Minnesota’s Joe Coleman connected 6-of-8 buckets from the floor, finishing with a team-high 12 points. Coleman’s mates Julian Welch and Andre Ingram grabbed six boards each, while uniting for seven of their side’s 13 steals. 

The lopsided battle’s combined 125 points dipped below the ‘total’ of 141, moving the UNDER to 2-0 in the Golden Gophers’ last pair of duels. Minnesota sank 14-of-25 free throws, with forward Maurice Walker knocking down 6-of-8 from the line.

Spartans, Nix rally past Longhorns

Michigan State logged its six straight win in last week’s 67-56 triumph over the Texas Longhorns, falling a ‘hook’ short of cashing as an 11 ½-point home favorite. The Spartans recovered from a 33-28 halftime deficit, while holding Texas to 36.5 percent field shooting. 

Spartans center Derrick Nix piled in a season-high 25 points, while adding 11 boards for his second double-double in three games. Michigan State’s Keith Appling and Denzel Valentine recorded three assists each, with mate Travis Trice being held scoreless in 25 minutes of action. 

The duel’s combined 123 points ducked below the ‘total’ of 124 ½, making the UNDER cash at 5-1 in the Spartans’ last six battles with a ‘total.’ Michigan State was held to a 2-for-11 mark outside the arc, while edging out Texas in rebounds, 32-26. 

Back Minnesota as home ‘chalk’ 

The NCAA Basketball odds makers at opened Minnesota as a six-point home favorite for this 2 p.m. (ET) tip, while first listing the ‘total’ at 127 ½.

I am laying the points here, and adding Minnesota to my NCAA Basketball picks tonight. We fully expect for the Golden Gophers to avenge their four straight losses to Michigan State in this spot.

Minnesota has held foes to 52.8 PPG in its first eight home dates, with a 4-2 ATS mark in the span’s six ‘board’ battles. Golden Gophers senior Rodney Williams has been one of the Big Ten’s top two shot blockers (1.5 BPG), while Austin Hollins ranks third in steals (2.3 SPG).

Michigan State has a 1-5 spread record in its last six road games, while held to 63 PPG in its four spots away from home this year. The Spartans missed cashing in last February’s trip to Minneapolis and this time will be without Draymond Green, who led the matchup in scoring, boards, assists and steals. 

Look for Minnesota to have its chances of running it up here, while adding another cashed ticket to a 10-4-1 ATS mark in its last 15 battles against squads with winning records.

NCAA Basketball Picks: Minnesota -6 at Bookamker