Basketball Betting: Michigan State vs Wisconsin
The Michigan State Spartans have had to deal with injury problems throughout their season, but hope that those difficulties might have taken their course by the time the selection process for the Big Dance takes place. On Sunday they will take the floor against the Wisconsin Badgers in college basketball betting action that is slated to get underway at 1 PM ET at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The Spartans are 20-3 straight-up on the year and have compiled a 13-9 mark against the basketball betting odds. They are 9-1 in the Big Ten, which ties them with Michigan for the conference lead. The Badgers are 18-5 straight-up and 11-10 against the number. They currently have a 5-5 mark in the Big Ten.
Michigan State is ranked 8th in the country by the USA Today coaches poll and 9th by the Associated Press. Wisconsin is #24 nationally in the coaches’ poll.
Michigan State is coming off an 82-67 win over Penn State, in a game that was dangerous because of the fact that the Nittany Lions had won three consecutive games coming in. The Spartans covered the 13.5-point spread in college basketball betting at VietBet.
This is actually equal to the best start Michigan State has ever had in a single season. Generally coach Tom Izzo likes to use the regular season, especially the non-conference schedule, as a primer for his team’s eventually entry into the NCAA Tournament. Indeed, when you consider the “pre-season” slate, this team has the 12th-toughest slate of opponents in the nation, so they are going to be battle-tested when the time comes.
Even the conference tournament has not meant a whole lot to Izzo, who realizes such things don’t mean a whole lot, even when it comes to seeding in the Big Dance. But this season his club is on its way to at least a #2 seed, thanks to getting out of the gate very well.
Of course, VietBet customers know that there is a challenge for Izzo, and that is to keep this team on that track while dealing with injuries to key players, most notably Branden Dawson, who was involved in a rather foolish injury when he banged his fist on a table, apparently dissatisfied with some game film he watching, and broke his hand. He has missed five games and will miss many more.
But Adreian Payne has returned to action. Payne, the 6’10″ power forward, is the best rebounder Michigan State has and averages 15.9 points; he is adept at moving around and scoring in the paint as well as hitting outside shots (42.9 % from three-point range) had to sit out seven games with a foot injury, and finally got back into action against Penn State on Thursday night. College basketball bettors know that his presence makes a major difference. Indeed, in the previous game, MSU lost a 64-60 decision to Georgetown as an eight-point favorite in the basketball odds at Madison Square Garden. Matt Costello and Gary Harris (the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 ppg), who were also in the starting lineup on opening night for the Spartans, have missed games as well.
Wisconsin, incidentally, has lost five of its last seven both straight-up and against the NCAA pointspread. Just three games ago, they shot 26% against Northwestern.
Want to hear an interesting contrast? Wisconsin has used the same starting lineup for every game this season; Michigan State has had to use TWELVE starting lineups. That is how much personnel upheaval Izzo has had to go through.
Payne came back relatively nicely from the time he missed, playing 18 minutes and scoring 12 points in the win at East Lansing. But because things can’t be perfect for the Spartans, you just knew somebody else had to be out, and in this case it was guard Keith Appling, who has a wrist injury. It was not confirmed that Appling could make it to post for the Wisconsin game, but it appeared as if Payne could be ticketed for more minutes, and that should go into any college basketball bettor’s handicapping formula here.
He got a standing ovation when he came into the game, just four minutes into the first half, and when he made his first shot, Penn State coach Patrick Chambers compared it to when Willis Reed triumphantly came back from injury in the seventh game of the 1970 NBA Finals.
Okay, there was a bit of hyperbole there.
But the fact remains, if they can somehow get to the NCAA tourney with a healthy roster, Michigan State may have as good a chance as anybody to compete for a national championship.
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