NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan State/Wisconsin in Big Ten Finals

Darin Zank

Sunday, March 15, 2015 12:23 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 15, 2015 12:23 PM UTC

Michigan State owns the advantage in the recent Big Ten rivalry with Wisconsin, winning 6 of 8 meetings straight-up, going 8-0 ATS in NCAA Basketball odds, but the Badgers beat Sparty two weeks ago.

Badgers-Spartans Betting Odds
Most of the NCAA Basketball odds market opened this game with Wisconsin favored by six points, then bumped the Badgers to -6.5. Those who like Michigan State to win this game outright could get +240 on the moneyline at Heritage.

Check out our NCAA Basketball Picks: Arkansas vs. Kentucky SEC Championship

Badgers-Spartans: Championship Match-Up
At 30-3 overall Wisconsin is probably a win away from securing a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament. Michigan State, meanwhile, is also on its way to the Big Dance, but would love to spoil the Badgers' plans for a dual championship in the Big Ten.

Wisconsin has won five games in a row, after dispatching of Purdue Saturday 71-51. The Badgers trailed that game by five points at the half, then held the Boilers to just 16 points in the second half. Wisconsin out-shot Purdue from the floor 47 to 37 percent, and turned the ball over just three times, in covering as a nine-point favorite.

The Badgers reached Saturday's semifinals by grinding out a 71-60 victory over Michigan Friday.

Michigan State has won four games in a row, after knocking off Maryland Saturday 62-58. The Spartans trailed that game early 23-7 but fought back, finally taking a lead about eight minutes into the second half, then finishing strong, scoring several easy baskets in the last few minutes to salt the victory away.

On the day Michigan State only shot 44 percent from the floor, but held the Terps to just 40 percent FG shooting.

We had some concerns about the Spartans' free-throw shooting – they're only hitting 63 percent on the season from the line – and they only went 13-for-20 Saturday. But they did hit seven of ten down the stretch to help secure the victory.

The Spartans reached Saturday's Big Ten quarterfinals by beating Ohio State Friday 76-67.


Badgers-Spartans: Recent History
Michigan State has taken six of the last eight meetings with Wisconsin, and covered the spread each of those last eight meetings. The Badgers took the only meeting this season between the teams, 68-61 two weeks ago in Madison, but the Spartans, thanks to a meaningless 3-pointer in the last few seconds, covered the line as nine-point underdogs.

Wisconsin led that game by 11 at the half, bumped that advantage to 22 about five minutes into the second half, but allowed Michigan State to come back just enough for the back-door cover.

The Badgers shot 52 percent from the floor that night, and out-rebounded Sparty 35-25. But Michigan State hit nine-of-17 on 3-pointers, and that's how it took the cash.

Last March the Spartans beat Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament 83-75.


Badgers-Spartans Betting Trends
Wisconsin has played eight UNDERS in its last 11 games.

Michigan State had played six OVERS in a row, until Saturday's game played UNDER.


Badgers-Spartans Prediction
Wisconsin just beat Izzo's boys a couple of weeks ago, and more handily than the final scores might indicate. Michigan State has been playing some pretty good ball as of late, but so have the Badgers. So in thinking UW is set for the sweep of the Big Ten titles we like the favorite in this spot, with room enough for the cover.

Free Big Ten Championship Game Pick: Wisconsin -7 at Pinnacle

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