NCAAB Picks: Spartans Are Live Dogs At Gophers In Big Ten Action

Tom Izzo HC Of Michigan State

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 4:27 PM GMT

The struggling Michigan State Spartans will take to the road and meet the 12-1 Golden Gophers in Minnesota on Tuesday night in the Big Ten opener for both. Let’s review the college basketball odds and cash a ticket.

Michigan State At Minnesota

The Spartans (8-5 SU, 5-7 ATS) have won four of their last five straight up but have disappointed those who have backed them in their NCAA basketball picks by cashing in only two of those five contests. However, in their last outing they covered the NCAA basketball odds by defeating Oakland 77-65 as seven-point home chalk. But here they will leave the friendly confines of the Breslin Center, where they have won all but one of their last five home games, to take on the Golden Gophers in hostile territory.

Minnesota (7-4 ATS) has crafted an impressive 12-1 SU mark and stands atop the Big Ten tied with Maryland for the best non-conference record. But national recognition for the Gophers' accomplishments has not come easy do to their soft schedule to date. Consider that of their 13 contests, the Gophers have been installed as underdogs in only one and that resulted in a 75-67 loss to No. 20 Florida State, yet they covered as nine-point road dogs. Here they face a Big Ten rival in MSU that has already faced three nationally ranked powers in Arizona, Kentucky and Duke, losing to all three and covering the number against only the Blue Devils.

If you examine the statistical categories you will find that Minnesota has an edge in points scored (77.1 vs. 72.6), points allowed (64.7 vs. 68.5) and rebounding (40.5 vs. 38.2), yet those stats are misleading because the Spartans have an onerous out-of-conference schedule that has adversely affected not only their overall record but their stats as well. Consider also that Michigan State is 16-6 ATS in road games over the past three seasons, while Minnesota is just 19-20 ATS in all lined home games over the same period of time. Last season, these teams met in Minnesota just about this time and the Spartans came away with a 69-61 victory as nine-point road chalk.

Of course the loss of Michigan State’s leading scorer Miles Bridges cannot be ignored. The touted freshman suffered an ankle injury and has been sidelined since the end of November. He is expected to be out for at least another week, if not more. However, the betting trends continue to insist the Spartans are the play here. Minnesota is 0-4 ATS in their last four games against their Big Ten rivals, 2-7 ATS in their last nine Tuesday night games, and 5-11 ATS vs. Michigan State in their last 16 contests. Conversely, the Spartans are 4-0 ATS over their last four games against teams with a winning record, 12-2 ATS over their last 14 against Big Ten teams and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 road games.

This matchup is too close in my opinion to give the Spartans such a big head start. We will grab the points here with the undervalued road dog.

NCAAB Free Pick: MSU +6.5

Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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