NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan State vs. Ohio State

PJ Laferla

Sunday, February 24, 2013 4:38 PM GMT

The number 4 ranked Michigan State Spartans (5-5-1 ATS away) will be on the road this Sunday when they take on the number 18 Ohio State Buckeyes (9-6 ATS home) in this classic Big Ten match-up.

Big Ten Matchup: Michigan State at Ohio State

Tip off in this one is schedule for 4:00 PM from the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio and can be seen live on television, with national broadcast coverage provided by CBS.

Sportsbooks such as Bookmaker.eu, have opened their NCAAB odds lines for this game with the home team as their choice to lay the chalk in this one, listing Ohio State as -2 ½  point favorites, but Michigan State is 3-1-1 ATS in its last five meetings versus the Buckeyes.

The over/under total has been set to just 130 points, which makes sense given how well both schools play defense. Michigan State features an exceptional and stingy defense that is holding opponents to an average of 59.6 points per game, which ranks 31st best in the country and Ohio State boasts and even better defense, as their 59 points against average ranks 25th in the nation.

However, the Spartans are over in four of their last five games played on the road and five of seven of overall, while the Buckeyes have eclipsed the total in 15 of their last 21 games played on a Sunday.

Overall, Michigan State has been doing a fine job as of late for us bettors covering the point spread on the road, as they are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games during their travels.

But, Ohio State has been sensational at home, covering the point spread in 8 of their last 10 games played at the Schottenstein Center when hosting a team with a winning percentage on the road of .600 or better. Additionally, the Buckeyes are an impressive 9-4 ATS in their last 13 matchups played on a Sunday.

While this game is an intense and heated rivalry as it is, there is also tension between the two coaches, which is another storyline to this game that cannot be overlooked.

Tom Izzo of Michigan State is 207-93 versus Big Ten opponents, including 21-11 against Ohio State, but before Thad Matta took over at Ohio State, the Spartans coach was much better, winning 12 games, while dropping just 3 against the Buckeyes.

However, while Matta is 107-45 against Big Ten opponents, he owns a losing record against Izzo and the Spartans, going 8-9 in his games versus Michigan State.

Check out our Sunday Picks of the Day to really take it to the Bookies!~

[gameodds]14/222060/43/us[/gameodds]

The Pick

Michigan State will be playing a ranked team for the second time in a span of five days and even though this is a road game for the Spartans - in what is sure to be a hostile environment, I like them to win this game outright my NCAA basketball picks here.

NCAAB Pick: Michigan State + 2 1/2

Don't forget to check out our predictions on the Mega-Game, Duke vs. Boston College~