College basketball odds and betting picks for Saturday (1/29)


The 2021-22 college basketball season is in full swing, and conference play provides matchups between the top teams in the country. Below is my analysis and favorite bet for Saturday’s slate.


Michigan State vs. Michigan

(Line: Michigan State -3, DraftKings Sportsbook)

We have a huge Big Ten matchup between inner state rivals Michigan and Michigan State to start off another massive Saturday college basketball slate. The Wolverines are off to a disappointing season so far after having pretty high preseason expectations, but it’s liked like they have turned the corner lately, winning three straight. On the other hand, the Spartans enjoyed a successful start to the season but have stumbled a bit recently, losers of two of their last three. Where Michigan State has struggled all season is defending dribble penetration and turning the ball over offensively. The question will be whether Michigan can exploit these weaknesses. and I don’t think they have the dynamic enough backcourt or the aggressive defensive scheme to give the Spartans any sort of trouble at home. 

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The Spartans have rolled out a brand new backcourt, including transfer Tyson Walker and blue-chip freshman Max Christie, that has shown flashes of outstanding play this year but overall has been very inconsistent. Michigan State continues to struggle against aggressive defenses and ranks 282th nationally in turnover percentage offense. On the other hand, Michigan’s defensive scheme is not built to force turnovers at all as they rank 338th nationally in turnover percentage defensive. The losses of combo wings Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers have been hard to replace for the Wolverines and their motion offense as transfer DeVante Jones and veteran Eli Brooks don’t embody the same playmaking ability as Michigan had last year. Down low, Michigan’s duo of Hunter Dickinson and Moussa Diabaté are incredibly hard to stop but Tom Izzo has a plethora of bigs he can throw at them defensively and will use all their fouls in order to be physical with the 7-footer. I think this game will come down to guard play and I side with the Spartans winning the back court battle at home and the Wolverines won’t be able to force enough turnovers that have typically slowed down the Spartan train this year. The Breslin Center should be rocking for this rivalry game.

The Pick: Michigan State -3

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