March Madness Mythical Matchups: Bet Michigan St vs Michigan, Florida St vs Florida

Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston celebrating.
Michigan State point guard Cassius Winston has helped the Spartans overcome significant injuries and rack up one of the most impressive ATS records in 2018-19. Photo by Twitter user @JonKirklandESQ.
  • Odds on some mythical NCAA Tournament matchups
  • These matchups consist of some traditional NCAA rivalries
  • Outcomes are based on how many points each team scores in the first round of March Madness

In the 2019 NCAA Tournament, sportsbooks have started employing a concept developed by European sportsbooks for soccer matches. They’re called “Mythical Matchups,” and they pit two teams (often rivals) that are not actually playing head-to-head against each other as if they are.

Today, odds are offered on:

  • Florida vs Florida State
  • Michigan vs Michigan State

Florida vs Florida State Mythical Matchup Odds

Teams Moneyline Spread Total
Florida (#10) +175 +4.5 (-115) O 136.5 (-115)
Florida State (#4) -230 -4.5 (-115) U 136.5 (-115)

In regular-season play during the 2018-19 campaign, the Florida State Seminoles handled their cross-state rivals easily by a score of 81-60. It was an impressive offensive showing against a Gator defense that ranks 21st in the nation, allowing just 63.6 points per game.

In their West Region opener, no. 10 Florida faces another potent offense in the no. 7 Nevada Wolf Pack, who are ranked 25th in the country in scoring, averaging  80.7 points per game.

No. 4 Florida State faces a tough defense in its opener in the West Region. The Seminoles tangle with the no. 13 Vermont Catamounts, 13th in the NCAA, allowing 62.6 ppg.

The Seminoles are expected to drop about 72 points on the Catamounts, while the Gators’ team total is only about 65 or 66 points. They have only hit 70 in regulation time twice in their last five games, and both of those were against LSU. Nevada plays at a slower tempo than LSU and also has a better defense in terms of efficiency.

While the Noles didn’t hit 70 in any of their ACC Tournament games, all three were against elite defenses: Va. Tech, Virginia, and Duke, ranked 25th, 5th, and 6th in defensive efficiency, respectively. Take FSU on the moneyline and the spread.

Picks: Florida State (-230) and Florida State -4.5 (-115)

Michigan vs Michigan State Mythical Matchup Odds

Teams Moneyline Spread Total
Michigan +160 +4.0 (-115) O 148.0 (-115)
Michigan State -200 -4.0 (-115) U 148.0 (-115)

You don’t need to look into a crystal ball to figure out what would happen if Michigan and Michigan State met in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. In their first meeting at the Crisler Center on Feb. 19, the visiting Spartans rolled to a 77-70 verdict.

They met at the Breslin Center on March 9 with the Big Ten regular-season title on the line. Michigan State ran Michigan again, this time by a 75-63 count.

In last week’s Big Ten Tournament final, it was the Spartans turning the three-peat, stopping the Wolverines 65-60. All three wins saw MSU come from behind in the second half. But those results won’t count for squat in this prop.

Michigan, no. 2 in the West, opens with no. 15 Montana in a rematch of last year’s opening round, when the Wolverines toppled the Grizzlies 61-47 in a poorly played game on both sides.

Michigan State, no. 2 seed in the East, gets started against no. 15 Bradley.

Michigan State has a much more potent offense than Michigan (4th in efficiency vs 18th) and plays quicker (181st in tempo vs 321st). But, looking at their opponents, Bradley has a better defense than Montana (117th vs 160th) and plays at a slower pace (302nd in tempo vs 225th).

That will hinder MSU’s ability to rack up points.

Sparty is still the play here, though. A lot of that has to do with Michigan’s game against Montana last year. Jon Beilein’s squad was thoroughly anemic on offense, and has a worse roster this year in terms of scoring the ball. Expect another very low-scoring game between the Wolverines and Grizzlies today.

Picks: Michigan State -200 and Michigan State -4.0 (-115)

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