Virginia +1.5 over Spartans for NCAA Tournament Picks

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 1:01 PM GMT

Tuesday, Mar. 25, 2014 1:01 PM GMT

The Michigan State Spartans are one of the more dynamic offensive teams in the country, but they’ll likely be shut down by the Virginia Cavaliers Friday night. Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA Tournament odds for this Sweet 16 matchup in the East Region.

Back to normal
Virginia struggled out of the gate against Coastal Carolina in the Big Dance, but it looked more like its normal self in picking up a 78-60 victory over the Memphis Tigers as seven-point favorites Sunday. 

The Cavaliers are now set to make their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1995, while also being the only ACC team left in the tournament.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 6-11 SU and 11-6 ATS as underdogs, with the UNDER going 11-2 in that situation.

Michigan State is among the last 16 members standing in major college basketball for the 12th time in the last 17 years, which is one of the main reasons why this veteran group is attracting a lot of action in the futures market to win it all. 

The Spartans have reached this stage by advancing past Delaware and Harvard as 15 and 8.5-point favorites respectively, while going OVER the betting total in each affair.

College basketball handicappers will find that the team is 2-0 SUATS as neutral court favorites of three or fewer points since the start of the 2011-12 campaign.

Be sure to check the live NCAA Tournament Betting Lines

Lack of respect?
The Cavaliers are underdogs on the SBR Odds page despite winning the ACC regular season and tournament titles, while also capturing all eight games on a neutral floor this season.

Virginia is capable of shutting down any opponent—entering its last game as the No. 1 defense in the country in surrendering just 55.4 points per game.

A key area to watch
The Spartans have committed 47 fouls through the first two games of the tournament—a statistic that’s very important to handicap when taking on a foe that ranks 105th nationally in getting to the charity stripe.

Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo has mentioned numerous times that his team is committing too many fouls on the defensive end, which has led to key players sitting on the bench and easy scoring opportunities for opponents.

I'm going to recommend that the readers back the Cavaliers as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as they've been one of the best transition defenses in the game since the arrival of head coach Tony Bennett.

Michigan State is one of the best teams in the country in running the fast break, but those opportunities will be limited in this matchup.

Pick: Virginia Cavaliers +1.5


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