Michigan State vs Wisconsin: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (1/21/22)

Michigan State vs Wisconsin Betting Odds

The Spartans and Badgers enter this game at the top of the Big Ten.

Behind breakout player of the year Johnny Davis, Wisconsin is 6-1 in conference play with some massive victories.

Meanwhile, Tom Izzo is holding serve with his Spartans at 5-1 in conference play. However, Michigan State hasn’t played anyone of relevance lately, and the squad recently dropped a home game to Northwestern.

So, which team has the edge in this monumental Big Ten battle.

Michigan State Spartans Odds

Yes, Michigan State is 14-3. Yes, the Spartans are 5-1 in conference play.

But Izzo’s team hasn’t suited up against a top-50 KenPom team since November (Baylor). Sparty has wins over Loyola Chicago and UConn to flaunt, but they have played a very weak schedule since then.

That changes today.

Four of the next five games for Sparty are on the road. In addition to playing Wisconsin, the Spartans will also play Illinois and Michigan during the stretch.

Plus, this isn’t even the worst part of the season for Izzo.

Between Feb. 19 and March 3, Michigan State will go:

  • vs Illinois
  • @ Iowa
  • vs Purdue
  • @ Ohio State

Sparty better be ready to roll when that stretch comes around. But Izzo generally has his team playing the best ball in March.

Right now, the Spartans are playing well. Particularly on the defensive end, where Marcus Bingham Jr. leads a defense that’s 14th in effective field goal percentage and ninth in block rate.

It’s all about team basketball on offense. Michigan State is sixth nationally in assist rate, with AJ Hoggard and Tyson Walker both being top-10 nationally among D-I players in that stat.

Wings Gabe Brown and Max Christie shoulder the scoring load, with the two averaging 25 points per game between them. Brown has the better efficiency numbers, but I respect what Christie is doing as a freshman.

Wisconsin Badgers Odds

After his 27-point, eight-rebound performance against Northwestern, Davis is now the clubhouse leader to win the Wooden Award – currently sitting at +750 on DraftKings.

Davis is the third highest-usage player in the Big Ten (33.7%), ranking inside the top-15 nationally in both percentage of possessions used and percentage of shots taken. But he scores without losing much efficiency, as he’s dropping 22 points per game.

Davis’ three-level scoring ability gives Wisconsin a true, No. 1 option the Badgers can go to on every play. When the Badgers need a bucket, Davis is there to deliver. And that is massive for a team that ranks 238th nationally in effective field goal percentage.

While Wisconsin lacks other, reliable scoring options, the Badgers do two important things well.

First: Wisconsin takes care of the ball. Brad Davison and Chucky Hepburn run an offense that’s second in offensive turnover rate. Hepburn has been good, but Davison is a savvy veteran combo guard who can score when needed and distribute to Davis otherwise.

Second: The Badgers play solid defense. The team ranks 36th in defensive efficiency overall, allowing less than 66 points per game. Wisco also rebounds well, partially thanks to Davis, who is pulling down nearly eight per game.

When your team has good guard play, solid defense, and is led by an elite scorer, that’s a formula for a deep playoff run.

Michigan State vs Wisconsin Prediction and Pick

My pick: Michigan State +4.5 (-110 at BetMGM)

If the Spartans had beat Northwestern, I would be all over Wisconsin in this game.

Sadly, I must pivot and go the other way.

Coach Izzo off a loss will have his team hungry. And there’s plenty of reason to suspect that the Spartans can hang in this game – especially with a good defense and solid guards.

The Spartans are outmatched at the wing position. And I do believe Michigan State is wildly overvalued.

But 4.5 points is too many in what’s sure to be a Big Ten grind. 4.5 points is too many in almost any Big Ten game (unless Nebraska is involved).

Whoever wins this game, it shouldn’t be by more than four points. Therefore, play this line down to MSU +4.

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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