The Valparaiso Crusaders, champs of the Horizon League, take on Michigan State Thursday in Midwest region college basketball betting action.
Valpo is a big underdog as the 13 seed against a Spartans team that is seeded fourth and coming off a loss in the Big Ten tournament semifinals.
The Spartans, led by Keith Appling (guard) and Gary Harris (guard) beat five teams ranked in the Top 25 during the season. Valpo did not beat any Top 25 schools in compiling their 26-7 record and they rely on forward Ryan Broekhof. They are 16-2 SU in their past 18 games and look for the upset here.
The Spartans bring a 25-8 record (13-16-1 ATS) to this tilt against the 26-7 Crusaders, who are 18-12 ATS. OVER/UNDER bettors have witnessed Michigan State go 13-16 so far and the Crusaders go 14-14.
The Spartans were listed as 10.5-point favorites at most sportsbooks tracked by Odds Shark earlier in the week, including . It opened first at 5Dimes, where the total was 126.5.
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Spartans sit at No. 9 in the current college hoops power poll here at Odds Shark, while the Crusaders sit at No. 80 on the same chart. The computers running our scores simulations have concluded that the Crusaders will win this game 75-74.
How They Match Up:
Rebounding is always a key handicapping consideration and Crusaders is ranked No. 249 in NCAA hoops at 32.9 per game. Contrast that with Michigan State’s No. 55 mark in the paint. When it comes to three-point shooting, Michigan State is the No. 298-ranked team in the country at 5 per game, while Valparaiso rates No. 55 at 7.5 per game.
Comparing how these foes stack up statistically, Valparaiso owns the country's No. 109-rated mark, allowing 66.9 points per game on the highway. Michigan State, on the other hand, rates No. 158 in scoring at home.
Valparaiso was a 62-54 winner in its last match at home against Wright State. They failed to cover the 9-point spread as favorites. Valparaiso got 22 points from Erik Buggs en route to a 62-54 victory over Wright State on Tuesday at Athletics-Recreation Center.
Michigan State was a 61-58 loser in their most recent outing on the road against Ohio State. They failed to cover the 2-point spread as underdogs. Derrick Nix scored 17 points in a futile effort to lead the Spartans to a win (they lost 61-58 to Ohio State at United Center on Saturday).
Valparaiso Crusaders Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 6-4
After playing Wright State are 6-4
After a win are 8-2
Michigan State Spartans Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 8-2
After playing Ohio State are 9-1
After a loss are 7-3
A few Crusaders at Spartans trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Michigan State's last 6 games
Michigan State is 19-6 SU in its last 25 games
Michigan State is 2-5-1 ATS in its last 8 games