NCAA Basketball Picks: Siding With Michigan St & 'Under' Against Florida

Darin Zank

Saturday, December 12, 2015 4:45 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015 4:45 PM GMT

Michigan State isn't just undefeated on the season, it's also 7-2 against the NCAA basketball odds. Can the Spartans cover near-double digits against Florida Saturday night?

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2935519, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan State -9.5 & UNDER 134
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

Betting Odds
Most of Saturday's NCAA basketball odds market opened Michigan State at -9 or -10 over Florida, with an OVER/UNDER of right around 133. In the early the spread was holding steady, while the total inched up to 134 at many shops.

 

The Match-Up
Florida (6-2 SU, 4-2-1 ATS) returned three starters from a team that went 16-17 last season for its first season under new head coach Michael White. We expect the Gators to finish somewhere in the middle of the SEC this season, and an NCAA berth is iffy.

UF just had a three-game winning streak snapped by a 66-55 loss at Miami Tuesday night. The Gators, as six-point dogs, had the spread covered midway through the second half, trailing 45-40, but faded from there.

On the night Florida shot just 39 percent from the floor, hit just one of 12 from 3-point range and got outrebounded 42-31.

Prior to that, though, the Gators beat Vermont 86-62, covering as a 14-point favorite; topped Florida Gulf Coast 70-50, pushing the spread at -20; and beat Richmond 76-56, covering at -8.

Michigan State (10-0 SU, 7-2) only returned two starters this season from a team that made the Final Four last season. We're not sure if the Spartans can win the Big Ten this year, considering the holes to fill, and the competition, but we're not dumb enough to say they won't.

MSU is trying to pull a Golden State, having won its first 10 games this season, rising to No. 1 in the rankings. Among its victims; 7-1 Kansas, 9-1 Providence and 6-1 Louisville. Most recently, the Spartans bombed Maryland-Eastern Shore Wednesday night 78-35, covering at -34.

Michigan State jumped out to a 17-2 lead on the Eagles Wednesday night, and pulled away from there. On the night the Spartans shot 50 percent from the floor, hit 12 of 22 from long range, held the Hawks to just 22 percent shooting and won the battle on the boards by a 48-31 margin.

 

By the Numbers
Florida is shooting just 42 percent from the field this season, just 29 percent on 3-pointers and 65 percent from the free-throw line. At the other end of the court they're holding opponents to 37 percent shooting, and outrebounding foes by about nine per game.

Michigan State, meanwhile, is shooting a shade under 50 percent from the floor, almost 41 percent from 3-point land and an improved 72 percent from the line. The Spartans are also holding opponents to just 35 percent shooting, while outrebounding foes by almost 18 per game.

 

Totals Trends
Florida is 5-2 on the UNDERS this season, as Gators games have averaged 134 points.

Michigan State is 6-3 on the UNDERS, as Spartans games have averaged 139 points.

 

Final Analysis
Florida's two losses have come against its two toughest opponents, Purdue by 15 points and Miami by 11. Also, while the line on this game is probably inflated toward the home team by a bucket or so, we're leery of the underdog Gators because they shoot the ball so poorly. And going up against this Michigan State defense won't help. So we like the Spartans for our NCAA basketball picks in this spot, minus the points. As far as the total goes, we could see this game getting ugly at times, with two pretty good defensive squads, so we're thinking UNDER.

comment here