NCAAM Pick January 8, 2021 – Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan State Spartans

Yesterday we saw several teams that have mostly been flying under the national media radar take care of business and pick up signature wins. One of those teams was the USC Trojans. The Trojans made a bold statement when they went into Tucson and beat up on the Arizona Wildcats. USC has one of the top freshmen in the nation in future NBA lottery pick Evan Mobley, and despite playing in one of the biggest sports markets in the world and winning six out of their first eight games, nobody is talking about USC right now.

The Trojans play tomorrow night against a struggling, yet very talented, Arizona State Sun Devils team, and if they can pick up back-to-back top-100 wins on the road in league play to run their record to 8-2 on the season, it would very likely be enough to get them into the top-25 of next week’s AP Poll. Another team that has impressed with little recognition has been the Colorado Buffaloes.

Colorado knocked off 17th ranked Oregon last night for their biggest win of the season. The Buffaloes were light on quality wins in the non-conference, but after beating Oregon last night and USC last week, Colorado is quickly emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the PAC-12. McKinley Wright might be the best player in the country you have never heard of, as this kid is doing it all for the Buffaloes. Wright is averaging 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists a game for the Buffs.

Today’s scheduled is a packed one with 45 games to be played. It is the small schools that take center stage today as the leagues like the ASUN, Sunbelt, and Big West are all in action. There is one major conference game on the schedule that is intriguing, though, as Michigan State plays Purdue in the nation’s top conference, the Big 10. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to the Breslin Center for the showdown between the Spartans and the Boilermakers.

Today’s Game

  • Purdue Boilermakers (7-5) at Michigan State Spartans (8-3)
  • Breslin Center, East Lansing
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: FS1

The Michigan State Spartans host the Purdue Boilermakers tonight, trying to extend their winning streak to three straight games. After rising to as high as 4th in the nation earlier in the season, the Spartans lost their first three Big 10 conference games. Michigan State has turned things around here recently, though, as they won back-to-back league games over Nebraska and Rutgers and are now tied with six other teams with three losses in the Big 10.

For Purdue, the Boilermakers are one of those teams tied with Michigan State in the Big 10 standings at 2-3. Purdue has lost three out of their last four games, with all three of those losses coming on the road against staunch competition. Life in the Big 10 is particularly tough this year, and after this game, Purdue has to play on the road yet again, at Indiana, in their next game.


  • Michigan State Spartans (-4.5)
  • Purdue Boilermakers (+4.5)
Money line:

  • Michigan State Spartans (-220)
  • Purdue Boilermakers (+195)
Total Points:

  • Over 141.5 (-110)
  • Under 141.5 (-110)

Michigan State Spartans (8-3)

First, it was talk of a Final Four trip and another national championship for Spartans head coach Tom Izzo. Then, the Spartans couldn’t buy a win, with losses to unheralded teams like Northwestern and Minnesota and their first home loss to Wisconsin since many of the current Spartan players were in diapers.

Michigan State went from overrated to underrated in a hurry, and now after picking up a couple of nice conference wins last week, it feels like the Spartans are finally back to looking like the team we all thought they were in the preseason.

Their last win was a big one, as it came over a very talented Rutgers team. The Spartans blew out the Scarlet Knight in that one, holding them to just 45-points. Rocket Watts broke his streak of five consecutive games of scoring single-digit points, as he scored 11 in the win. Watts has seen his role dimmish recently with his struggles shooting the basketball, but if Michigan State is going to live up to their preseason hype and make a deep run in March, they need this kid on the floor and playing at his best.

Purdue Boilermakers (7-5)

It has been a tough year for Matt Painter’s Boilermakers. They have played a brutal schedule, and while they are still above .500 at 7-5, if the season were to end today, Purdue wouldn’t be close to snagging an at-large bid. The majority of the Boilermakers struggles have come on the road, as they are 0-4 in true road games this season. Against the spread when they are underdogs, like they are in this game, they are 0-2-1.

Trevion Williams is the star for Purdue and leads the team in scoring and rebounding. The problem for Purdue is that with their lack of scoring production and defense to surround Williams, the losses are starting to pile up. Against Rutgers, Williams exploded for 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Boilermakers lost the game. Against Iowa, he dropped 14 and 9, and they lost the game. Against Illinois, he had 14 and 8, and yep, you guessed it, they lost the game. Teams have found out that even if they don’t stop Williams, they can still win the game, and Painter needs to find a second option, or this Boilermaker team is going to keep losing.

Who Do I Like?

I have been picking on Purdue quite a bit this season. In most years, and really even this year in any other league, the Boilermakers would have more than enough talent to maker the NCAA tournament. But this isn’t most years, as the Big 10 is absolutely loaded, and with so much talent in one league, somebody has to be the odd man out. And in the Big 10, that team is going to be Purdue. It is hard to fault the Boilermakers for road losses at Illinois, Rutgers, and Iowa, as those are all really good teams.

And it’s going to be hard to fault them tonight when they lose at Michigan State as well. But unfortunately, when I look ahead on the Boilermakers schedule, I just don’t see many wins. They are going to win some games at home, as they are too well-coached to just lay down in West Lafayette, but on the road, there just aren’t going to be too many teams that Purdue can beat. Maybe at Maryland? Maybe at Nebraska? Maybe. But certainly not at Michigan State tonight.

The Bet

This is just one of those home/road split plays. Nearly all of Michigan State struggles have come on the road, and they have been solid at home. For Purdue, they have been awful on the road in general, and in league play, they are 0-3 with an average margin of loss of nine points. That is where I see this one falling tonight, with Purdue hoping to just keep the game close enough to save face with no real shot at pulling off the upset.

I see Michigan State dominating much of the action, and even if Trevion Williams finds a way to have a big game, and he just might, it’s not going to matter, as the Spartans are winning this game, and likely fairly easily. Expect Sparty to build an early lead and coast in for the win and the cover, as Purdue continues their recent run of bad luck. I’ll call it a final score of 74-60 from East Lansing!

The Bet: Michigan State Spartans -4.5

My Pick
Michigan State Spartans -4.5
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL