Eastern Michigan vs. Michigan State Betting Odds
A classic, early-season in-state rivalry game happens Saturday evening, as the Eastern Michigan Eagles head to East Lansing to take on Tom Izzo’s Spartans.
As usual, Izzo is expecting his Spartans to beat up on their little brother. However, EMU has been frisky this season, and they have the talent to make a run in the MAC this season.
Meanwhile, Michigan State rebounded from its opening night loss to Kansas with dominant wins over Western Michigan and Butler. The Spartans have some coming together to do, but they’re on the right track.
Eastern Michigan Eagles Odd
The Eagles might only be 1-2 this season, but they’re 3-0 against the spread (ATS).
It seems unlikely since the Eagles have a new head coach attempting to replace almost 75% of last season’s minutes. However, some expected that if the newcomers arrived and gelled immediately, the Eagles would be catching more points than they deserve.
So far, that prediction seems to be ringing true.
Returning top-scorer Bryce McBride is joined by ECU transfer Noah Farrakhan in the backcourt, and Farrakhan is taking over the show. He’s averaging 19/5/2 through the first three games while shooting over 35% from deep.
Meanwhile, senior guard Monty Scott, the transfer from Portland State, has been the floor general for the second unit and has been scoring with volume. He dropped 28 points in the win against Illinois State and 21 in the close loss to Northern Kentucky, shooting over 60% from the field on the season.
Plus, the whole unit has dropped their turnover rate from last season considerably while upping their free-throw rate, free-throw percentage, and 3-point percentage. They’re doing the little things right.
Defensively, this team needs some work. But so far, San Heath is looking smart.
Michigan State Spartans Odds
Sparty looked like a team still trying to mesh against Kansas. Northwestern transfer Tyson Walker, who’s taking over point guard duties after the Rocket Watts disaster, has been playing well below average (94.3 offensive rating, 13:9 assist-to-turnover ratio).
Luckily, it’s been Izzo’s returning guys that have stepped up.
Back-up guard AJ Hoggard dropped 17 against Kansas. Joey Hauser went for 12 points and 12 rebounds against Western Michigan. Marcus Bingham dropped 10 points with six rebounds and six blocks against Butler.
That’s all great because Michigan State needed its returning guys to step up and take on major roles. However, it’s clear the team is still not 100%, even after the destruction of Butler.
Defensively, however, Michigan State has been more than solid.
They currently rank fourth in defensive efficiency while holding opponents to an effective field goal rate under 40% (22nd nationally). They’re forcing incredibly long offensive sets (18.2 seconds on average, 58th highest) and opponents aren’t converting.
I’m sure MSU will continue to play elite defense through Big Ten play, but the offense needs more continuity before I’m buying Sparty futures.
Prediction and Pick
My pick: Eastern Michigan +22.5 (-115 at BetMGM)
I’m going to keep betting the Eagles until they don’t cover.
This team is clearly frisky as a dog, and Stan Heath has the newcomers firing on all cylinders.
Not many people can mess with the 7-foot Marcus Bingham at center, but EMU has one of the deepest big men rotations in the league. 7-foot Axel Okongo, 6-foot-10 Mo Njie, and 6-foot-10 Thomas Binelli will rotate at the five and take away one of Sparty’s biggest weapons.
Meanwhile, look for the Eagles back-court trio to try to attack an undersized Walker (6-foot-0), as well as inexperienced freshman shooting guard Max Christie (.976 points per possession allowed in half-court, 25th percentile).
Michigan State will score a lot on this Eagles defense, but the Eastern Michigan offense will keep this game within the number.