Willie’s NCAAB season picks record: 36-27-2 (+7.60 units)
Thursday, 8 p.m. ET (FS1)
Free NCAAB Pick: Michigan State ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
Maybe by the time Nebraska and Michigan State meet in East Lansing nearly four weeks from now, the Cornhuskers will have gotten back in the good graces of voters for the AP and coaches polls. If so, it’ll mark the first time they collide as ranked clubs. Until then, we’ll just have to be satisfied in the Spartans’ trip to Lincoln on Thursday as a top-25 tilt in unofficial polls.
The Big Ten battle pits a pair of sides that have been very good to hoops bettors, a combined 28-8-2 ATS. KenPom has MSU No. 3 and Nebraska No. 11, with CBS having the Spartans and Cornhuskers 6-19 while Joe Lunardi’s latest bracket has them 2-5 seeds.
Huskers 9-0 At Home (6-1-1 ATS)
Michigan State picked up its 10th-straight win Sunday with a fine effort at Penn State. Closing as 7½-point favorites at Bookmaker, the Spartans broke a 10-all tie four minutes into the game by going on a 10-0 run in the 71-56 final. Michigan State is 9-1 ATS in the 10-game streak, and played Sunday without Kyle Ahrens who is questionable for Thursday due to a back sprain. It was also the fourth consecutive game without Joshua Langford, and the junior guard will sit against Nebraska once again due to his injured ankle. Langford is third on the team averaging 15.0 PPG while Ahrens is seventh at 6.1 PPG.
Nebraska pulled back to level at 3-3 in the conference race with a 66-51 upset as a 2-point underdog at Indiana on Monday. The Cornhuskers scored the first nine points of the game and never looked back as the Hoosiers suffered through a horrible night shooting less than 37% from the field, and converting just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc. The final finished well short of the total, stopping a string of 4-straight “over” winners in Nebraska tilts. The Cornhuskers have covered six of their eight home games to make NCAA basketball odds board this season, plus a push.
State On 3-0 SU & ATS Run In Rivalry
After the Cornhuskers won three in a row from 2014-16, the Spartans have won the last three to take a 15-9 lead in the rivalry, 7-3 as conference opponents. The schools haven’t met since opening the 2017-18 Big Ten schedule against each other in East Lansing where Michigan State crushed Nebraska, 86-57, the largest margin of victory by either team in the series. The Spartans have covered the last three meetings, and totals have split in the last four at Lincoln.
Even minus a couple of key players, I’ll take the Spartans for my free NCAA basketball pick.