Free College Basketball Picks: Iowa vs. Michigan State

Jeff Grant

Friday, March 15, 2013 3:55 PM GMT

Friday, Mar. 15, 2013 3:55 PM GMT

The Iowa Hawkeyes are on the bubble in hopes of reaching the 2013 NCAA Tournament, as they meet the Michigan State Spartans Friday night at the United Center. Which team will help us cash in with our sports picks?


Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds for this Big Ten Conference Tournament matchup, with the opening tip scheduled for 9 p.m. ET.

Bubblicious

Iowa is currently listed as one of the first eight teams out according to ESPN’s Bracketology with Joe Lunardi in terms of making the 68-team field for the upcoming 2013 NCAA Tournament, but would likely land a spot with a victory here.

The Hawkeyes took care of business in the opening round of the 2013 Big Ten Conference Tournament, as it captured a 73-59 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats as 10-point favorites Thursday. 

Taking care of business 

Michigan State has put together a two-game winning streak after dropping three in a row, including a 71-61 victory over Northwestern as 18-point home favorites Sunday, while going OVER the total for the first time in four contests. 

All five of the Spartans’ conference losses have come against teams that were ranked at the time of the game, which could serve them well in this spot.

Earlier this year

College basketball handicappers will find that the Spartans came away with a 62-59 win over the Hawkeyes as two-point road favorites on Jan. 10, but it’s important to note that the host was playing without its leading scorer.

Junior guard Roy Devyn Marble entered the tournament averaging 17.6 points over his last seven games, which was the fourth-best scoring average in the conference since Feb. 9. 

Iowa finished the game with a 34-33 edge on the boards, but turned the ball over 18 times.  The Hawkeyes are 1-4 against the spread (ATS) in their last five meetings in this series.

Keep a close eye on the shooting percentage

In handicapping this affair, I was definitely surprised to find that Iowa has limited opponents to 38.7 percent shooting from the field, which is nearly a full percentage point better than Michigan State (39.6). 

The Hawkeyes have won 29 consecutive games when holding foes to 61 or fewer points, while the Spartans are 22-1 when outshooting their opponent during the 2012-13 NCAA basketball season.

[gameodds]14/224733/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’ve established the Spartans as 3.5-point neutral-site favorites in this affair, which makes them my choice for my NCAA Basketball picks if the betting line comes out at three points or lower, while the Hawkeyes would deserve a look at four points or higher.

Handicapper Line:  Michigan State Spartans -3.5

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