College Basketball Picks: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 18 Michigan State Spartans
Saturday, 1/19/12, 6:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan State -1.5
Current Betting Line:  Michigan State -2
Opening Total:  130
Current Total:  130
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Ohio State Buckeyes forward Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten Conference in averaging 20.3 points per game
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten Conference in averaging 20.3 points per game

Ohio State has won its last two games, including a 56-53 victory over the Michigan Wolverines as two-point home favorites Sunday, while going UNDER the total for the fourth time in five contests.  The Buckeyes have been led offensively by the play of forward Deshaun Thomas, who leads the Big Ten in scoring at 20.3 points per game.  “Opposing teams just try to do as much as they can to put different bodies on me,” stated Thomas in practice this week.  Ohio State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight Big Ten Conference games, something to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks Saturday.

The Buckeyes have won four of their last six meetings with the Spartans, while also posting a 3-1 mark in their last four trips to East Lansing.  Ohio State is 20-10 in the Michigan State series when playing as a ranked team, but just 5-6 when both teams land in that role.  Offensively, the team is second in the conference in allowing just 57.8 points per game, while ranking third with a scoring margin of plus-16.8 points.

Michigan State rides a four-game win streak into this affair, including an 81-72 victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions as 11-point road favorites last time out, while going OVER the total for the fourth time in five opportunities.  The Spartans have compiled a dominating 321-45 record at the Breslin Center since 1989, which includes a 165-34 mark when facing conference rivals.  Eight of the team’s next 11 games will comes against foes currently ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll.

The Spartans have done a great job of taking care of the basketball over the last four games, averaging just 10.5 turnovers in that span.  Michigan State has four players averaging double figures offensively, with junior guard Keith Appling leading the way in scoring 13.7 points per game.  The program owns a 65-54 all-time advantage in this series, including a 40-17 record when playing in front of the home fans.

Sports bettors will likely back the Buckeyes due to their 4-1 ATS mark in their last five trips to East Lansing, while the favorite is 0-6 ATS in the last six meetings overall.

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