Pick Michigan State Spartans As Home Dogs Against Badgers

Michigan State Spartans

Willie Bee

Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:58 PM GMT

Michigan State has a poor track record against ranked teams this year, one reason why the Spartans are home underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds vs. the Wisconsin Badgers.

Season: 37-37-3 (-3.70)

The past couple of weeks have not been very much fun for Greg Gard and the Wisconsin Badgers. Winning 10 of their first 11 Big Ten games left the Badgers 21-3 overall on February 9, and in full control of the conference race. Three setbacks in four trips to the floor have since followed, and Wisconsin's stock keeps slipping on projected brackets.

Gard and the Badgers shouldn't expect any sympathy from Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans. After playing arguably the toughest non-conference schedule in the country, the Spartans got off to a lackluster 4-4 start in Big Ten play and their current slotting for the NCAA Tournament is precarious at best.

Those worlds collide Sunday afternoon in East Lansing, CBS beginning its broadcast from Breslin Center at 4 PM (ET). BetOnline sent the Badgers out -1 with the spread jumping up a point overnight. Playing the scoreboard tally means making a decision on a 130 point total.

 

State 1-6 This Season Vs. Ranked Foes

Wisconsin (22-6 straight up, 12-13 against the spread) was 7 point chalk earlier this week in Columbus where Ohio State used a strong first half to ease to an 83-73 decision. It was the fifth time in six games the Badgers failed to cover the NCAA basketball odds, all but one of those games as favorites. The usual defense wasn't there for Wisconsin as the Buckeyes connected on 50% of their field goals and 10-of-16 from 3-point range.

Having won three of four and its last four home games, Michigan State (17-11SU, 14-13 ATS) will be looking for just its second win in eight tries against a ranked opponent today. The only previous victory over a top 25 team came on this floor in early January against Minnesota during the Golden Gophers' short-lived tenure in the ranks. A win today would go a long way to helping the Spartans into the Big Dance, and give them momentum before going out on the road next week to face Illinois and Maryland.

 

Series Has Belonged To Home Teams

Sunday marks the only scheduled clash between the rivals, Michigan State owning a 76-64 advantage overall and winning 19 of the 23 matchups played at Breslin Center. The teams split their get-togethers a year ago, each winning in their gyms which has been a general trend in the series with 18 of the last 20 regular season battles going to the home sides. The last contest in East Lansing ended in a 69-57 MSU win, the Spartans laying 9½ and covering for the ninth time in 11 meetings.

The Badgers fan in me always makes it tough to play against Wisconsin, but trends in the series and the sense of urgency Izzo and Spartans are playing with right now leave me with little choice for my free college basketball pick; State plus a bucket is the wager to make.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Michigan State +2 Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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