Michigan State Spartans vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers: College Basketball Odds and Picks Against the Spread

Michigan State Spartans at Minnesota Golden Gophers
Monday, 12/31/12, 2:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Minnesota -6
Current Betting Line:  Minnesota -6.5
Opening Total:  127.5
Current Total:  129
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Minnesota Golden Gophers can match up on the boards with the Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State has won six games in a row, including a 67-56 victory over the Texas Longhorns as 11.5-point home favorites nine days ago, while going UNDER the posted total of 124.5.  “It was a physical war and there were bodies everywhere,” stated Spartans head coach Tom Izzo.  He enters the team’s Big Ten Conference opener with a 25-8 all-time mark against Minnesota.  The Spartans have gone 11-6 in conference openers under his watch, including a 4-6 mark on the road.  Michigan State is 1-5 ATS when playing a team with a winning record.

The Spartans need to take better care of the ball if they plan on covering the number represented on the college basketball odds page, as they’ve averaged 15.6 turnovers per game.  Michigan State point guard Keith Appling is leading the team in scoring 14.9 points per game, but is averaging 2.5 turnovers per contest.  Offensively, the team has shot the ball better of late, hitting 50 percent or more of its shots in 13 of its last 24 halves of basketball.

Minnesota finished its non-conference schedule with a 12-1 record, with its only loss coming agains the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils on Nov. 22.  The Golden Gophers are No. 11 in the latest AP poll, which is the highest ranking for the school in the Tubby Smith era.  It’s important to note that he’s 3-15 all-time against the Spartans, but this may be his best team since arriving on campus.  Minnesota is 0-3 ATS when playing with seven or more days rest, as it was last seen on the floor in a 75-50 win over Lafayette on Dec. 22.

The Golden Gophers are averaging 41.0 rebounds per game, while winning the battle on the glass by an average of 10.2 boards.  Minnesota leads the conference in averaging 16.7 offensive rebounds per game.  The program is 1-5 when facing off against Michigan State in its conference opener, while Smith has dropped four of five lid lifters overall.  Four of five probable starters are scoring in double figures, with forward Rodney Williams leading the way, averaging 13.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.\

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this affair, as the UNDER is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Minnesota.

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