Illinois @ Michigan State
Michigan State -3½ -109 over Illinois

Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle  -3½ -109 BET365  -3½ -110 Sportsinteraction   3-½ -110  888Sport  -3½ -110

Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI

Michigan State -3½ over Illinois

Streaming: CBS

2:00 PM EST. The Illini of Illinois are ranked #10 in the nation, and they are looking for their fourth Big Ten (B1G) conference win in a row after knocking off Indiana, Ohio State, and Nebraska. The Illini have actually won five of their last six to bring their record to 17-5 with an 8-3 mark in the B1G, which is good enough for second place behind #2 Purdue. The Illini had high expectations this season, and so far, so good, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Illinois has a hell of a sweet tooth and satisfied it by playing a relatively weak non-conference schedule that ranks 239-of-362 graded schools in the nation. Illinois has weak wins over schools like Eastern Illinois (325), Valparaiso (282), Southern (212), Western Illinois (239), and Fairleigh Dickinson (332). When playing quality outfits, the Illini have struggled, losing to Marquette (10), Tennessee (6), Purdue (2), Maryland (59), and Northwestern (48). Today, Illinois plays another quality program in Michigan State.

The Spartans of Michigan State are not ranked, but they should be, as they come in at #17 in the power rankings, which is a far more accurate reflection of their quality than the polls would have you believe. The Spartans are battle-tested after playing the 88th toughest non-conference schedule in Division I hoops, and they have some really nice wins, including those over then #6 Baylor, Indiana State (34), Butler (49), Penn State (87), Rutgers (95), Minnesota (73), Maryland (59). In fact, when factoring their B1G commitments, the Spartans have played the 12th toughest schedule in the country. Expectations were high, as the Spartans were expected to contend for a B1G, but they sit just sixth in the conference; however, that presents us with the opportunity to “buy low” on them.

The elephant in the room here is the fact that Michigan State opened as the better favorite here despite the Illinis' grandstanding in the polls. On the surface, a top-10 team taking back points is going to look appealing, but we are not going to be tempted by such a scenario. We trust there is a damn good reason the oddsmakers make the Spartans the chalk despite Illinois' recent success and the #10 ranking they carry into this game, and that’s because Michigan State is the better team, and they have the opportunity to prove that and pick up another signature win against an overrated and overhyped invader. Swallow the points.



Our Pick

Michigan State -3½ -109 (Risking 2.19 units - To Win: 2.01)



Purdue Fort-Wayne +130 over Green Bay