Michigan State vs Ohio State: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (3/3/22)

Michigan State vs Ohio State Betting Odds

Two upper-echelon Big Ten teams took two big-time losses last time on the court.

Sparty took a beating at Michigan, losing by 17 points in Ann Arbor. Meanwhile, Ohio State lost a shocker to Nebraska, which recorded just its second Big Ten conference win.

Both the Spartans and the Buckeyes are in the hunt for a huge bounce-back win on Thursday night.

This is also the first time these two have met this season. So, I’m fascinated to see how the two match up.

Let’s investigate both teams and see how this game could play out.

Michigan State Spartans Odds

The Spartans have been on a rollercoaster the past month.

Three straight losses (Penn State, Illinois, Iowa) were followed up by a huge win over Purdue, which was then followed up by a huge loss to Michigan. Michigan State is now just 10-8 in conference play this season, which is below Tom Izzo’s normal yearly standards.

Tyson Walker and AJ Hoggard are still playing well. Both are top-15 nationally in assist rate, seeing the floor better than any backcourt duo in the nation. But the offense hasn’t really been there this season, and ShotQuality is projecting Sparty for considerable negative regression on that end.

But defense is the calling card for Izzo. Marcus Bingham Jr. anchors a defense that’s second in the Big Ten in block rate. As a result, Michigan State is strong at preventing good shots at the rim, ranking top-50 nationally in efficiency guarding opportunities at the rim.

That’s good, considering so much of Ohio State’s offense runs through EJ Liddell. If Bingham can neutralize Liddell, this game could come down to Malaki Branham vs. the Sparty backcourt.

Ohio State Buckeyes Odds

Unfortunately for Sparty fans, Branham has been cooking lately.

The freshman is averaging 21.8 points per game over his last five, shooting close to 58% from the field. The former Mr. Ohio Basketball is a deadly shooter, as he’s shooting over 43% from 3 this season and is creating 1.48 points per possession in catch-and-shoot opportunities – both are better than 98% of D-I players.

When Branham isn’t shooting the ball, Liddell is posting up. Liddell continues to prove himself as one of the best players in the country – he’s fifth in KenPom’s player of the year formula.

The whole offense runs through Liddell, as his 30.6% usage rate ranks in the 99th percentile of D-I players. But his offensive skillset is so versatile, he can beat opposing big men any which way. In the post, taking a mid-range from the elbow, pulling up for 3 off the dribble – you name it, Liddell can do it.

He’s not the best defender statistically, but he’s top-50 nationally in block rate. And he has the athleticism to do stuff like this:


The Ohio State defense at large isn’t great. Chris Holtmann’s M.O. in recent years has been to blitz teams offensively and play optional defense. But this year’s version of the Buckeyes can defend a bit, ranking third in the Big Ten in effective field goal percentage allowed.

However, Holtmann and the Buckeye backcourt will not pressure the ball. Ohio State is dead last in the conference in defensive turnover rate.

That could be problematic against Sparty’s savvy backcourt.

Michigan State vs Ohio State Prediction and Pick

This is a very interesting spot for both teams. Both need a big bounce-back victory.

Ohio State likely needs it more after losing to hapless Nebraska. However, Sparty is closer to the bubble than the Buckeyes are, and six points is too many in a top-tier battle like this.

Michigan State’s backcourt will blitz an Ohio State perimeter defense that’s susceptible to ball screens.

While Ohio State will score on almost every possession, Sparty has the resources to hang around in this one. I’m expecting a tightly knit Big Ten battle.

So, give me the points.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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