NCAA Basketball Picks: Will Iowa Become Michigan St.'s First Loss?

Charles Stark

Tuesday, December 29, 2015 12:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 12:47 PM UTC

Michigan State travels to take on Iowa in a Big Ten matchup. The NCAA basketball odds boards show the #1 ranked team as the underdog. What will be the smart NCAA basketball pick?

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Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Iowa -3
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


NCAA Basketball Odds Overview
?NCAA basketball odd boards have Iowa a -3 -105 favorite like at Bookmaker. For one of my NCAA college basketball picks tonight, I like for the Hawkeyes to get it done against the Spartans and cover the spread. This a very good Iowa team that is undefeated at home this season.

Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State is averaging 81.2 points per game while shooting 49.2% from the field, and allowing 59.7 points per game on 35.3% shooting from the field. Of course the main aspect of this matchup is the fact that Michigan State is without leading scorer Denzel Valentine and they showed they can be a little vulnerable without him. In their most recent contest they were pushed to over time by a decent mid major in Oakland, a team that is not nearly as good as Iowa. Offensively, Michigan State has been a completely different type of team than we have seen in the past from head coach Tom Izzo. They get up and down the floor and are excellent at moving the ball and finding the open shooter as they average 22.2 assists per game which ranks first in the country. They are a very efficient team that is also shooting the three very well at just over 40% per game. Defensively we see the same tough defense as we always get from the Spartans as they rank second in the country and opponent shooting percentage. They also ranked in the top of the country in opponent effective field-goal percentage, and opponent shooting efficiency. Against better offensive teams, they have been a little more susceptible and I think their averages are a little skewed because when they have overmatched the team, they have really locked them down which has boosted their statistics. Not to say they are a great team, because they are, I just think tonight without Valentine Iowa has more than enough to score and win this game by close to double digits.

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Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa is averaging 82.6 points per game while shooting 47.2% from the field, and allowing 57.9 points per game on 39.6% shooting from the field. This is a very good and very underrated Iowa Hawkeye team who are going to push tempo as much as they can. Iowa ranks in the top 20 in both field-goal attempted per game and field goals made per game as evidence of the up-tempo style they want to play. Offensively, they are one of the better three point shooting teams in the country at 39.7% per contest, and rank in the upper part of the country in efficiency and field-goal percentage. Defensively, they lack a little bit but that is only because of the pace they push where they allow opponents 62.9 attempts per game, which ranks as one of the most in the country. Despite those attempts, Iowa has been good beyond the arc allowing opponents just 30% from distance, and they rank in the top part of the country in opponent shooting percentage. On the year they are undefeated at home and have only lost three games, all of them close, to three very good teams in Dayton, Notre Dame, and a game they should have won at Iowa State.

I think odds makers have shown their hand in this contest and for one of your NCAA basketball picks, I recommend backing Iowa minus the three in a game they should win going away. Expect an up-tempo game with Iowa winning by over five points.

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