NCAA Basketball Predictions: Michigan State Spartans vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

No. 18 Michigan State Spartans at Penn State Nittany Lions
Wednesday, 1/16/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan State -12
Current Betting Line:  Michigan State -12
Opening Total:  123.5
Current Total:  123.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Michigan State Spartans are 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games

Michigan State has won three games in a row, including a 66-56 victory over the Nebraska Cornhuskers as 18-point home favorites Sunday, while going OVER the total for the third time in four contests.  “This is the weirdest 14-3 start while playing a pretty good schedule that I’ve ever been involved with here,” commented Spartans coach Tom Izzo.  The Spartans have three players averaging in double figures, with point guard Keith Appling leading the way, scoring 13.8 points per game.  Michigan State is 2-6 ATS in its last eight road games, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball picks Wednesday night.

The Spartans do most of their damage in the paint offensively, outscoring foes by an average of 11.6 points per game inside—outscoring 15 of 17 teams they’ve faced in that category.  Since the start of Big Ten Conference play, Michigan State has been shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks third among all teams.  Defensively, the team is allowing opponents to shoot just 37.6 percent from the field, which ranks second  in the conference.

Penn State has dropped four games in a row since putting together a four-game win streak, as it looks to bounce back from a 60-42 loss to the Purdue Boilermakers as 11.5-point road underdogs, while going UNDER the total for the third time in four contests.  “It’s only a matter of time before we start hitting shots again,” stated Nittany Lions head coach Patrick Chambers.  The program is 7-30 all-time in this series, including a 4-11 mark when playing in State College.  Penn State is 1-5 ATS as an underdog this season, something to consider when looking over the college basketball odds page.

The Nittany Lions will be finishing a string of three games in seven days, as they continue to play without All-Big Ten guard Tim Frazier, who is recovering from Achilles tendon surgery.  Penn State hasn’t eclipsed 54 points in its four conference games, averaging just 49.5 points in that situation.  It’s still important to note that the squad leads the conference in hitting 76.2 percent of its attempts from the charity stripe.

Sports bettors will likely back the Nittany Lions due to the home team covering the last four meetings in this series.

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