Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 42-28-2 (+12.55 units)
Thursday, 7 p.m. ET (FS1)
Free NCAAB Pick: Iowa ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Michigan State has bullied Iowa for the last dozen years or so, and the Spartans continued that trend earlier this season when the teams met in East Lansing. The Hawkeyes have reversed course following a slow start to the Big Ten schedule, and now have a chance to avenge that December whipping when the clubs get together Thursday in Iowa City.
The Spartans arrive at Carver Arena sitting all by themselves on the top perch of the Big Ten standings with an 8-0 record. Half of those league dubyas have come on the road with Michigan State covering the NCAA basketball odds in each triumph. Iowa has won five straight after beginning conference play 0-3, and has a great chance to get right back in the race with this matchup against the Spartans and a visit from Michigan in about a week.
Langford Still Out For Spartans
It wasn’t a pretty performance on offense Monday against Maryland, especially from the outside where the Spartans connected on just six of 26 tries beyond the arc. But Michigan State got the job done with a 69-55 decision. It was the 11th time in the 12-game win streak the Spartans covered, and sixth “under” winner in the last seven games. Kyle Ahrens returned to action after missing a couple of games with a sore back, but MSU will still be without Joshua Langford on Thursday as he sits for a seventh straight game with an ankle injury.
Iowa has also been good to its backers by covering all five games in the win streak. The latest was Sunday at home where 5Dimes closed the Hawkeyes on a -9 line, and they responded by slapping Illinois around in a 95-71 rout. Three Hawkeyes scored 20+ as the team blistered the nets in sinking 34 of 50 field-goal attempts, including 15 of 21 from 3-point range. Iowa still has but one loss at home, against Wisconsin in the conference opener, and has covered five of the seven games at Carver since then.
‘Under’ 9-4 In Last 13 Battles At Iowa
Favored by 11 in East Lansing in the first matchup, Michigan State used a 23-3 run that extended from late in the first half into the middle of the second to cruise past Iowa, 90-68. It was the Spartans’ 12th win in the last 14 meetings, another one of those coming in the only meeting last season in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes have covered the last two at Carver Arena, and stand 35-25 in the previous 60 clashes in Iowa City.
Something obviously has to give with both teams playing so well right now, and I’m willing to take the points for my free NCAA basketball pick and count on the Hawkeyes at least keeping it close.