Wisconsin Will Be Down Two Key Players When It Hosts Michigan State; Spartans Favored by 4.5

Wisconsin Badgers basketball
Can Wisconsin overcome the loss of two key starters and upset No. 14 Michigan State at home? Photo by William Prost (Flickr).
  • Wisconsin is a 4.5-point home underdog to No. 14 Michigan State on Saturday (1 pm ET, Feb. 1)
  • The Badgers will be without Kobe King (transfer) and Brad Davison (suspension)
  • They’ve lost eight straight to the Spartans dating back to 2016 – check our betting prediction below

No. 14 Michigan State (16-5, 3-2 away) travels to Wisconsin Saturday (Feb. 1, 1 pm ET) to battle the unranked Badgers (12-9, 9-1 home). Wisconsin has been in a bit of a funk lately, dropping three of its past four, and not surprisingly opened as an underdog at home.

No. 14 Michigan State vs Wisconsin Odds

Team Spread Total
Michigan State Spartans -4.5 (-115) Over 131.0 (-115)
Wisconsin Badgers +4.5 (-105) Under 131.0 (-105)

Odds taken Jan. 31st.

The Badgers have lost eight straight to the Spartans and to make matters worse, Wisconsin will be without two of its top-four scorers for Saturday’s showdown.

Playing Shorthanded

Earlier this week, Kobe King announced his intention to transfer out of Madison. The sophomore wing was second on the team in scoring for the season, and averaged a team best 12.6 points per game in conference play. He didn’t disclose an exact reason for his departure, citing only that the program is not the right fit for him.

The Badgers will also be missing guard Brad Davison. The junior was suspended for one game after earning a flagrant 1 foul in the final minute of Wisconsin’s last outing. The loss of offensive talent couldn’t come at a worse time, as the Badgers have failed to eclipse 62 points in six of their last seven.

In four of those contests, they didn’t top 55 points, including two weeks ago against this very same Michigan State team. In that outing, Wisconsin shot just 35.6% from the field, and were a dreadful 4-for-19 from beyond the arc. They rank 275th in points per game, 193rd in field goal percentage and 149th from three. Not exactly an offensive juggernaut.

They’ll need to ramp up the offensive efficiency if they want to hang with the Spartans, who are one of the most balanced teams in all of college basketball.

Spartan Power

Michigan State is one of just five teams inside the top-20 in both offensive and defensive efficiency at KenPom, and is a top-six contender in the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds. They’ve won three of four, and 11 of 13 overall, while covering in eight of their last 10.

They feature arguably the best player in the nation in Cassius Winston as well as Xavier Tillman, a walking double-double machine. They rank 28th in points per game and seventh in average point differential, while holding enemy shooters to the eighth lowest shooting percentage in the country.

Last time out versus Northwestern, they held the Wildcats to 35.7% from the floor and 15.8% from three. They out rebounded them 46-28 and have a big advantage on the glass versus the Badgers. Michigan State ranks first in the Big Ten in total rebounding, while Wisconsin sits 11th. Expect plenty of second chance opportunities for the Spartans.

Bet Against the Badgers

Michigan State has beaten the Badgers by an average of 10 points over their past eight matchups, which includes two wins in Madison. They are a more talented team at both ends of the court, and Wisconsin is going to struggle to score with key pieces missing from the lineup.

Even with King and Davison on the court, the Badgers have failed to cover in each of their last five games, and are just 4-5-1 ATS at home this season. Michigan State already blew out this Wisconsin team at full strength just two weeks ago and will have no problem overcoming a raucous atmosphere on the road.

Pick: Michigan State -4.5 (-115)

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