Wisconsin vs. Michigan State – NCAAM Pick – Friday, January 17

As per usual, the Friday night College Basketball slate is a bit on the condensed side in comparison to other days with jam-packed slates. That said, we have several matchups that are more than appealing, including this showdown of Big Ten programs.

The Wisconsin Badgers will be on the road to take on the rival Michigan State Spartans. The visitors have opened up conference play at 4-2 and are in a logjam in 2nd place as a result. The Spartans are tops in the conference at 5-1 for now, but the team is looking to bounce back from an embarrassing road defeat last time out.

As such, there could very well be a statement coming as the team takes the home floor in East Lansing this evening. Oddsmakers seem to think that’s a plausible scenario, as the spread is pretty high for this one. Let’s take a look at the matchup in full detail, starting with the current game lines.

Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan State Spartans, 7 PM EST, FS1


  • Wisconsin +9 (-105)
  • Michigan State -9 (-115)
Money line:

  • Wisconsin +325
  • Michigan State -425
Total Points:

  • Over 130.5 (-120)
  • Under 130.5 (+100)

Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag

Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Pick:

The Badgers were last in action at home on Tuesday night. They welcomed Maryland to town and were favored by 2.5 points at tipoff. The tight spread would prove to be a tough nut to crack, as the Badgers managed to prevail by a score of 56-54. That was the team’s second straight victory, as they took down Penn State on the road last Saturday by a score of 58-49 as 4-point underdogs.

The last time we saw the Spartans, they were on the road squaring off with Purdue. It was expected to be a tough game for then 8th-ranked Michigan State as they were only favored by 4.5. The Boilermakers made it tough and then some as they dominated the game. After going into the half up 37-20, the hosts cruised to a 71-42 laugher, marking one of the worst defeats for Michigan State in recent memory.

Rec. Conf. STK STD Polls
Wisconsin 11-6 4-2 W2 2-Big Ten NA
Michigan State 13-4 5-1 L1 1-Big Ten 15

Wisconsin opened up the season with a heartbreaking 2-point overtime loss to Saint Mary’s. The club bounced back for four straight wins, but a rough patch followed in which the team went 1-4. The Badgers have gotten it back together since then and gone 6-1 over their last seven. They’ve taken down a trio of Big Ten foes thus far, but have also fallen to two unranked conference rivals.

The year would also open up with a loss for Michigan State as they fell to Kentucky by a score of 69-62. Three wins followed, but the club would then hit a patch and go 2-2. The Spartans caught fire from there and ripped off eight straight wins, seven of which came by double digits. The squad was rolling before being stunned by a Purdue team which had designs on making a statement at their expense.

PPG PtsAll FG%
WIS 67.2 59.8 43.5
MSU 78.9 64.1 46.3
33.9 11.4 3.7
42.8 19.0 5.6
5.0 77.0 33.0 10.6
5.0 74.7 33.6 12.8

Michigan State gets the nod on offense, but Wisconsin is allowing fewer points per contest. The Sapratans have the overall shooting advantage, but the Badgers are stronger at the line. Boards and helpers go to the hosts. Add it all up, and Michigan State is the stronger team on paper. However, Wisconsin has fared quite well against ranked opponents this season.

Nate Reuvers is the top offensive option for the Badgers with an average of 13.9 points per game. Kobe King is next up with 10.7, right ahead of Micah Potter at 10.1. Potter leads off the glass with 6.0 rebounds per game, while D’Mitrik Trice is tops in assists with 3.2. Six Wisconsin players are averaging 20+ minutes per game. Brad Davison and Trice top the squad at 30+ per contest.

Cassius Winston is the biggest threat for the Spartans. He’s averaging 18.8 points and 6.2 assists per game. Xavier Tillman is next up with averages of 13.9 points and 10.1 boards. No other Michigan State player is averaging double-digits. Winston and Tillman top the rotation at 31+ minutes per game. Three other members of the club are averaging 20 minutes or more.

Recent History

Michigan State has dominated recent meetings with Wisconsin, going 7-3 over the last 10 and winning the last seven in a row. Last season, the Spartans picked up a 67-59 road victory, and followed that up with a 67-55 home win. Over the seven-game winning streak over the Badgers, the margin has been eight points or more five times.

For the season to date, Wisconsin is 8-8-1 against the spread and 7-10 on the Over/Under. Michigan State is 8-9 ATS and 9-7-1 on totals.

Since 2017, the Badgers are 8-11 straight-up as road underdogs and 10-8-1 ATS. The Spartans are 39-3 overall as home favorites over that span and 29-12-1 ATS.

The Verdict

the open, the line for this one stood at 7.5 points in favor of the Spartans. Expectations of a bounce back performance have pushed it up to 9 points as of this writing.

Sunday’s road loss to Purdue was an embarrassing one, so it’s safe to assume that a much better outing is coming for Michigan State. This is a talented squad which could make lots of noise come March Madness time.

However, the Badgers aren’t pushovers. They’ll make a game of it, but that’s tempered by the fact that the Spartans have owned them in recent times. If the line crossed 10 points in favor of the hosts, we’d be looking towards the road team. At 9, the call is a Michigan State win and cover.

The Bet
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Chris Feery / Author

Chris has been covering sports professionally since 2014. Initially focused on the NFL and College Football, he has branched out to cover all of the other major team sports such as MLB, NHL, NBA, and College Basketball. Chris also has extensive experience in the world of fantasy sports. His work has been recognized on two separate occasions by the Fantasy Sports Writer's Association. From parlays to power rankings and previews to picks, Chris prides himself on delivering exceptional content with actionable information.