Friday college basketball slate doesn’t feature as many enticing matches and situational situations as the weekend, but one of the best matches on the odds board is in Madison, Wisconsin – with a top-15 duel between Michigan State n No. 14 and Wisconsin No. 8. The spots are oriented by opportunities for rebound, disappointment, anticipation or revenge. Let’s break down this massive Big Ten tilt for my best Friday college basketball bets.
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No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 14 Michigan State Spartans
Of course, Greg Gard’s team moved up to No. 20 in my college basketball power rankings with Wooden Award favorite Johnny Davis (+400) leading the way. But I’m going back to the pit against those Badgers after they’ve picked up seven straight wins.
Why is the market disrespecting Wisconsin? For one, his “free-throw defense” is unsustainable as opponents shoot the second-lowest clip on the line (63.1%) in Division I. Meanwhile, the State of Michigan posts a top-100 percentage in this category and wins trips to the line often too.
Although the Badgers aren’t committing many fouls, their defense will be in trouble against the Spartans’ fast attack. MSU generates the 11th highest transition rate in the nation (via Shooting quality), and his opponent allows top-90 efficiency at 1.04 points per possession.
Tom Izzo’s group manufactures so many of these opportunities because of their dominance on glass. MSU is one of the tallest units in college basketball — led by 7-foot Marcus Bingham. He’ll have a slight height advantage over Wisconsin, which struggled in the rebounding department at both ends during Big Ten play. That should translate to run-and-gun possessions for Gabe Brown & Co.
Keep in mind, Badgers ahead Tyler Wahl (ankle) is expected to be a game-time decision after suffering the injury in Tuesday’s win at Northwestern. Even if it does fit, expect it to be a little limited, hurting Wisconsin on the glass.
Still, the Spartans’ biggest responsibility is racking up mistakes, racking up the highest turnover percentage in the conference. But the Badgers are showing little to no ball pressure, forcing a turnover rate below 115 in the process.
Let’s sell high on Wisconsin – with an MSU group showing market value after a narrow win over Minnesota and a loss to Northwestern.
Eli’s bet: Michigan State +4 (placed Thursday night on PointsBet Sportsbook)
Best college basketball bets: MSU +3.5 or better
Best line available: MSU