Spartans Open with ATS Win vs. No. 1 Jayhawks in Champions Classic

Willie Bee

Friday, November 2, 2018 12:56 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 2, 2018 12:56 PM UTC

Kansas puts its preseason No. 1 ranking on the line as the favorite on the NCAA basketball odds in a tough battle right out of the gate against Michigan State.

No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 1 KansasTuesday, Indianapolis, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN)Free Pick: Spartans ATSBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Not every game on Tuesday’s season-opening college hoops card is a lopsided matchup. Thanks to television’s need for marquee clashes, there are a few contests that will help define early rankings, two of those taking place at the Champions Classic in Indianapolis.

Michigan State and Kansas tip the evening at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the Spartans and Jayhawks followed by a blueblood battle between Duke and Kentucky. SBR’s top sportsbooks should have lines out soon for both of the matches which will at least give everyone an opportunity to avoid all of the election coverage that night.

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5️⃣ Days until the @championclassic in Indianapolis ‼️#SpartanDawgs pic.twitter.com/FV0xpAZgkw

— Spartan Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) November 1, 2018
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Big Men Inside Will Be Key In This Game

Ranked No. 10 in both preseason polls, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo will be trying to find the right rotation in the early going after the Spartans bid adieu to Miles Bridges and Jaren Jackson. Despite those subtractions, Izzo will still be able to put plenty of experience on the floor in the form of five upperclassmen in starting roles. Point guard Cassius Winston is the leading scorer returning, but it’s the big men inside that I’ll be watching early. Nick Ward and Xavier Tillman will have the bulk of the minutes until 6-11 freshman Marcus Bingham learns the ropes.

Though his squad is ranked No. 1 in both polls heading into Tuesday, Kansas head coach Bill Self has been answering more off-court questions recently than discussing basketball. A run into the Final Four last March was made possible by the 46+ points Devonte Graham, Svi Mykhailuik and Malik Newman contributed each game. All three are gone, but transfers Dedric Lawson and Charlie Moore will help ease the pain. Udoka Azubuike is a 7-foot beast inside, and it’s going to be fun to watch how quickly freshmen Quintin Grimes and Devon Dotson assimilate to the college level.

Schools Set For 3rd Champions Classic Collision

Tuesday marks the 14th meeting between the programs with Michigan State holding a slim 7-6 lead in the rivalry, and the third time the Spartans and Jayhawks have collided in the early-season Champions Classic. The most recent get-together took place in the 2017 NCAA Tournament when top-seeded Kansas scored a 90-70 knockout of Michigan State as 7½-point chalk on the NCAA basketball odds board. Before that loss, the Spartans had won four of five meetings, covering six of the previous seven dating to 1999.

I’ll take Michigan State and the few points the Spartans will be getting with my free college basketball pick.

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