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Michigan State Laying Just 2.5 Points at Purdue; Spartans Have Not Covered the Spread on the Road this Season

Cassius Winston reaction
Michigan State is a 2.5-point favorite on the road at Purdue on Sunday. Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire.
  • #8 Michigan State (13-3, 2-0 away) is a 2.5-point favorite on the road at Purdue (9-7, 7-1 home)
  • The Spartans have yet to cover the spread as the road team (0-2 ATS away)
  • Purdue is 5-3 ATS at home – read below for a preview and betting prediction

Sunday’s college basketball slate will start off with a bang, as #8 Michigan State (13-3, 2-0 away) will travel to West Lafayette, IN for an intriguing Big Ten matchup (Jan. 12, 12pm ET) with Purdue (9-7, 7-1 home).

The Spartans are once again a top-10 team, while Matt Painter’s Boilermakers are off to a disappointing start this season. However, the tight Michigan State vs Purdue odds suggest that this game could be far closer than the records and rankings suggest.

Michigan State vs Purdue Odds

Team Spread Total
#8 Michigan State Spartans -2.5 (-110) O 130 (-110)
Purdue Boilermakers +2.5 (-110) U 130 (-110)

Odds taken Jan 11

Spartans Once Again Eyeing March

Michigan State, once again, looks like an elite team. They’re ranked eighth in the nation, racked up eight straight victories, and they’ve won five straight games to open Big Ten play. Before this weekend’s games, the Spartans were listed at +1100 in the 2020 NCAA Tournament Odds. That is good for the second-best odds in the conference, trailing Ohio State at +1000 (however, that number could see a change after the Buckeye’s 66-54 loss to Indiana).

They’ve been led by two key players. Guard Cassius Winston is averaging 19.4 points and 6.3 assists per game. In the front court, Xavier Tillman is putting up 14.3 points and bringing down 10.2 rebounds per contest.

Tom Izzo’s team is fourth in the nation adjusted offensive efficiency (116.5), and 23rd nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (89.8). They’re frustrating opponents with the some of the best defense in the country, ranking seventh in opponents’ effective field goal percentage (42.2%).

Boilermakers Looking for a Big Win

It’s been a difficult year for Matt Painter’s Purdue squad. They’re 9-7, and they’ve lost three of their last five games. They’re 2-3 in the Big Ten, and have dropped two straight contests on the road at Illinois and #19 Michigan.

They haven’t been the most reliable team for bettors either. Purdue is 7-8-1 against the spread so far this season.

There have been positives to glean for the Boilermakers, though. They have four players averaging over 10 points per game, a group that includes Trevion Williams (11.1), Eric Hunter Jr. (10.9), Matt Haarms (10.7), and Jahaad Proctor (10.7).

What’s the Best Bet?

Michigan State is the favorite, and on the surface, the 2.5-point spread looks a bit narrow. A deeper look, however, suggests that the Spartans aren’t the shoe-in for a victory on Sunday.

While Tom Izzo’s team has racked up 13 wins to just three losses, they haven’t been nearly as strong against the spread. The Spartans are just 8-8 in that regard, and they are 0-2 when they go on the road. Additionally, when Michigan State is the favorite, they cover only 50% of the time.

Purdue has been a markedly better team at home this year. Four of their seven losses have come on the road, and the Boilermakers are 5-3 against the spread at Mackey Arena.

On Sunday, Purdue has a chance to pull the upset behind both their home-court advantage, and also their stingy defense. The brightest spot of the Boilermakers is their defense, which ranks seventh nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (86.6).

The Spartans have trouble when they go on the road, and Purdue has a great shot at an upset against the nation’s eighth-ranked team.

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