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Rutgers vs Michigan State Picks & Odds (Jan. 19)

Jack Magruder

by Jack Magruder in College Basketball

Updated Apr 11, 2023 · 4:49 PM PDT

Michigan State's Jaden Akins celebrates an assist
Michigan State's Jaden Akins, left, celebrates after his assist led to a Tyson Walker 3-pointer against Purdue during the second half on Monday, Jan. 16, 2023, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing. 230116 Msu Purdue Bball 181a
  • Big Ten contenders No. 23 Rutgers and Michigan State meet Thursday, January 19
  • Michigan State is a 2.5-point home favorite over the Scarlet Knights at the Breslin Center
  • Read below for Rutgers vs Michigan State odds and prediction

Michigan State (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) is a 2.5-point home favorite against Rutgers in a Big Ten game at 6:30 pm ET Thursday on FS1 at the Breslin Center. The Spartans have lost their last two following a seven-game winning streak.

No. 23 Rutgers (13-5, 5-2 Big Ten) is riding high in coach Steve Pikiell’s sixth season. The Scarlet Knights have won and covered seven of their last eight with a defense that is third in the KenPom rankings in adjusted defensive efficiency.

Rutgers vs Michigan State Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Rutgers Scarlet Knights +2.5 (-114) +112 Over 124.5 (-120)
Michigan State Spartans -2.5 (-106) -134 Under 124.5 (-102)

Odds from FanDuel on Jan. 18. Claim a FanDuel promo code.

Michigan State is a 2.5-point home favorite over Rutgers in a series the Spartans dominated until very recently. Michigan State was 10-0 SU and 6-4 ATS in the first 10 meetings after Rutgers joined the Big Ten in 2014-15, but the Scarlet Knights have won and covered the last two, both in New Jersey.

This is the first meeting in East Lansing since the Spartans’ 68-45 victory since Jan. 5, 2021.



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Michigan State is 10-8 ATS,  5-4 ATS at home. Rutgers is 13-5 ATS, 3-1 ATS on the road. The Scarlet Knight were credited with covering a 68-64 victory over Ohio State on Sunday as a 3-point favorite although early comparison shoppers who found the Buckeyes at plus-4.5 on DraftKings also covered.

Rutgers Making a Charge

The Scarlet Knights find themselves alone in second place in the Big Ten while winning four of their last five league games, beginning with a 65-64 victory at then-No. 1 Purdue on Jan. 2. Cam Spencer made the game-deciding three-pointer in the final seconds then, as he did in a 65-62 win at. Northwestern on Jan. 11. The opponents may be stronger and more athletic and the closeouts may be more aggressive, but Spencer (13.9 points per game, 42 threes) has shown no ill effects after transferring from Loyola Maryland, where he led the Patriot League in scoring last season.

Spencer had his third straight 20-point game in a 68-64 overtime home victory over Ohio State the last time out Sunday,  and this time teammate Mawot Mag’s three-pointer was decisive. Mag’s three with 38 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Scarlet Knights a 65-61 lead, the first lead of more than two points by either team since midway through the second half. Mag had 15 points, Clifford Omoruyi had 14 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Rutgers is long and strong — its shortest starter is 6’4. It pays attention to defense and the details. The Scarlet Knights are limiting opponents to 37.1 shooting from the floor, average 9.9 steals per game and have a plus-4.5 rebound margin and a plus-4.3 turnover margin. They are 10-2 when point guard Paul Mulcahy (8.6 points, 4.1 assists) starts.

Michigan State Gaining Steam

Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard lead the Spartans’ guard-oriented group that, despite recent losses to Illinois and Purdue, has found a rhythm after early-season upset losses to Northwestern and Notre Dame. Senior 6’0 Walker (14.4 points, 32 threes) has thrived as the primary scorer after a rough first season following a transfer from Northeastern, and 6’3 Hoggard (12.6 points, 6.3 assists) is the primary distributor. Walker had Big Ten-high 30 points and hit shot after shot down the stretch before Zach Edey’s short shot beat the Spartans 64-63 on Martin Luther King Day.

Mid-range threat Joey Hauser averages 13.4 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds, and he has 32 threes. Senior F Malik Hall (9.9, 4.1) aggravated the stress fracture in his left foot that has limited him to nine games this season and will not play. The Spartans average only 11.1 turnovers per game, among the top 10 percent of Division I teams, and are among the top 50 teams in field goal percentage defense (40.5) and three-point field goal percentage (30.2). Both Walker and Hoggard have a better than 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Rutgers vs Michigan State Prediction

These teams are built similarly. They defend. They rebound. They value the ball. Their coaches are adept at attacking an opponent’s weakness. The Spartans are 5-4 when Hall does not play, although two those losses also came when fill-in starter Jaden Akins was out. Both teams played Purdue within a point, and this game will be decided late, too. Look for Sparty to cover the small number and get back into the Big Ten title race.

  • PIck: Michigan State -2.5 (-106)
  • Season CBK: 22-11 ATS


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