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Outkick Bets: Betting Michigan State/Ohio State

Who is pumped for the ultimate battle of good teams playing bad basketball? I am. Ohio State opens the doors of the Schottenstein Center to welcome in Mr. March himself, Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans. It’s an important game for both teams because neither of these teams is any good… right now. Ohio State is a 6-point favorite and the total stands at 138.5.

Michigan State enters tonight as losers of 6-of-8 (2-6 ATS) while Ohio State das dropped 3-of-5 (2-3 ATS). What could have been a matchup between two teams battling for the conference title a month ago has turned into a seeding contest for the larger tournaments. Ohio State can still grab the 4th spot in the Big Ten which would ensure a double-bye and a Big Ten tourney game next Friday instead of Thursday. While Michigan State in theory can do the same, the help they will need to do so is a lot more to ask.

Michigan State has fallen off a cliff and most recently at Michigan (87-70) on Tuesday. Defensively they’ve allowed their opponents to drop 75 points or more in half of those eight games during this weak stretch and 74.3 points per game overall in the last eight. It doesn’t help matters that their leading scorer, Gabe Brown, has seen his 11.4 points per game drop to just 7.6 since the beginning of February. That’s a massive drop of 33% in production in the most important month of the season thus far.

There’s more to be worried about for the Spartans too. Tuesday’s game was a makeup game with Michigan so to try and give as much time as possible to prepare for tonight’s game, Sparty drove from Ann Arbor to Columbus. It’s only a 3.5 hour bus ride but consider this. You’re already on the road, you get your butt whipped, you get straight on a pretty strong bus ride, then deal with a one-day prep for an Ohio State team still good enough to race you and still has a Big Ten Player of the Year -type player on it’s team (EJ Liddell). And you’re slumping. And one of your better players as of late (A.J.Hoggard) is dealing with an illness.

It’s all a recipe for Michigan State to continue to go towards the bottom before possibly pulling up this weekend against Maryland. Michigan State hasn’t covered a road spread since January 25. That’s five straight ATS losses. Michigan was a 5-point spread (lost by 17) and the largest was tied with tonight’s spread, a 6-pointer at Iowa. They got skull-drug for a 26-point beating. There’s an aura around Tom Izzo this time of the year but there’s too many holes for me to believe in it tonight. Let’s take Ohio Stat -6.

Written by Arky Shea

Arky is a decade plus veteran of sports talk radio and a podcaster since before it was cool (2006). He has also won many, many awards for being good at it. As you read this, he is probably working an angle to win $50 on a game and wondering when the Alabama dynasty actually will end.

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