It’s a Sunday afternoon matchup that is sure to be entertaining when the Ohio State Buckeyes head to the road to face the Michigan State Spartans. Both teams are on four-game win streaks heading into the final game of the regular season.
With the Spartans only a half-game back from first place in the Big Ten, a win over the Buckeyes would be huge. That’ll be easier said than done though, considering the Buckeyes have the 18th best defense in college basketball, allowing only 62.4 points per game.
Ohio State’s defense will have their hands full against Michigan State’s efficient offense and will have to focus on stopping Cassius Winston. With the Buckeyes coming in as 6.5-point underdogs, let’s evaluate both teams and make our pick.
Ohio State looking to end the regular season with an upset
Ohio State is coming off four straight wins, three of which were against ranked opponents. Perhaps the most shocking win was against No. 7 Maryland, a game in which guard Luther Muhammad put up 22 points, shooting 8 for 8 from the free-throw line. If Ohio State wants any chance of taking down No. 16 Michigan State, they’ll need another game like that from Muhammad.
Unfortunately for Ohio State, the reason they’ll need Muhammad to step up is that two of their players are questionable for Sunday’s game. With a couple of players questionable, they’ll need a higher output on offense from everyone on the court.
What Ohio State does well is defense, ranking 18th in college basketball, the Buckeyes will look to slow down Michigan State’s red-hot offense.
These two teams haven’t faced off since March of 2019 when Michigan State won 77-70. Considering they haven’t played each other this year, we can’t go off their history when choosing who to bet on.
What we can base our bet off of is trends, Ohio State has gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games and has an overall record of 19-11 well above the .500 mark. They were also able to cover against Maryland, winning 79-72, covering the three-point spread.
Michigan State, ready to claim Big Ten title
A win over Ohio State means a Big Ten title for the Michigan State Spartans, although they’ll likely have to share it with two other teams. However, although the Spartans might have their eyes set on a conference title, they still have to take down a strong Big Ten opponent, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Spartans have won four straight games as well, three of which were on the road. This time they’ll get to host another ranked opponent when the Buckeyes come to town. One thing both the Buckeyes and the Spartans have in common is they both recently beat the Maryland Terrapins. The Spartans took down the Terrapins 78-66 in a game led by Cassius Winston’s 20 points.
When it comes to covering, though, the Spartans are far from efficient. With an overall record of 14-16 against the spread, bettors have learned not to rely on the Spartans. In their last nine, the Spartans have gone 3-6 ATS, leaving little confidence in them to cover the -6.5 point spread.
Pick and Prediction
With a conference title on the line, a lot of people are leaning more towards Michigan State to pull this one off. Although Cassius Winston is one of the best players in college basketball this year, playing Ohio State’s defense won’t be easy.
Ohio State has more than enough reasons to pull off an upset here. Being able to rob the Spartans of a conference title is the main one, the other being a hot streak heading into March Madness.
We’ve seen how great the Buckeyes can be against ranked teams, and it’s a much smarter bet to take the team better against the spread and proven against ranked teams. I’ll take Ohio State to win this one straight up, covering the +6.5 point spread. Buckeyes +6.5.