Skip to main content
Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans hopes to open the tournament with a bang in our USC vs. Michigan State picks.
Head coach Tom Izzo of the Michigan State Spartans talks with Mady Sissoko #22 against the Ohio State Buckeyes on March 10. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

Nearly synonymous with March Madness, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo is back again as his Spartans face the USC Trojans in Friday's first game. Read on for our USC vs. Michigan State prediction based on the top NCAAB odds.

Michigan State (19-12) has fallen short of the 20-win benchmark to this point in the calendar, but an opening-round tournament win for the No. 7 seed in the East region would get the Spartans to that threshold on Friday.

Andy Enfield’s USC Trojans (22-10) are looking to avoid their third first-round March Madness exit since 2016. Is this wager as simple as riding with Izzo in the tournament?

Here is our best USC vs. Michigan State prediction (odds via BetMGM; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

USC vs. Michigan State odds

USC vs. Michigan State prediction

Michigan State -1.5  (-115 via BetMGM) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The notion of needing to swear by Izzo to dominate in March isn’t necessarily backed up by recent history given that Izzo’s teams have advanced beyond the second round only once since 2016. It is true, however, that Izzo’s Michigan State teams rarely lose their first game of the tournament.

Michigan State has made the tournament every year the event was held since 1998 but has only dropped its opening game five times. The most recent example was losing in the 2021 First Four to another PAC-12 team, UCLA, but those Bruins ultimately reached the Final Four as an 11-seed.

I don’t see this year’s USC squad having the same sort of helium. Michigan State is ranked a handful of spots higher in the KenPom metrics, with a slight edge in both offensive and defensive efficiency. While the Big Ten arguably garnered more credit than it deserved for the strength of its conference this season, it was still a better league than the Pac-12 and Michigan State scheduled a gauntlet in non-conference play to prepare for March.

Check out our best March Madness odds and Wooden Award odds.

USC vs. Michigan State best odds

BetMGM (-115)

Mich St. -2Mich St. -2.5Mich St. -1.5Mich St. -2Mich St. -2

Michigan State needs every bit of a full-possession margin to cover the FanDuel spread on this contest. While the -105 odds are the best on the board, it’s not worth the risk with other options available. The -2 line at DraftKings, Caesars, and PointsBet comes with standard -110 odds, but to avoid a potential push, I’m leaning toward the -1.5 offering at BetMGM. 

If the odds move to -120, I’ll be less inclined to eat the juice at BetMGM. But at -115, the difference between -2 and -1.5 is worthwhile for a game that could easily come down to the waning moments.

USC vs. Michigan State odds analysis

Michigan State opened as a 1.5-point favorite and remains there on the consensus line as of Friday morning. The Spartans have drawn 58% of the betting action with the late money seemingly coming in on MSU.

The total opened at 137.5 and has remained locked in at that number across our best sportsbooks. Over 55% of wagers have backed the Under.

USC vs. Michigan State game info

  • Date: Friday, March 17, 2023, 12:15 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS
  • Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH

USC-Michigan State pick made 3/15/2023 at 2:25 p.m. ET.

Here are our best March Madness betting sites:

(21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER)* Bonuses not applicable in Ontario.

Related pages

Best Online Sportsbooks | Best Sportsbook Promos (U.S. only) | Michigan sports betting | Michigan Sportsbook Promos | Michigan Sports Betting Apps