The Michigan State Spartans aren't a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but they're still one of the favorites to claim the championship at the sportsbooks over the next month.
On Thursday, Tom Izzo leads his Spartans into an East Region matchup with the Delaware Blue Hens as big favorites. Many experts believe MSU deserves a higher seed and will produce one of this week’s biggest routs here.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Spartans opened as 13-point favorites; the total was 152. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Delaware to cover the spread
The No. 13 Blue Hens have relished the role of the underdog all season, going 10-3 against the spread in their last 13 games as an underdog. Delaware is fresh off its one-point win over William & Mary to win the CAA tournament championship game and clinch an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
They have been hot, winning 19 of 21 games recently, but expecting them to hang tough with the Spartans is a tall order.
Why pick Michigan State to cover the spread
No. 4 Michigan State won and covered the spread in each of its last five games en route to winning the Big Ten tournament title and claiming an automatic bid to the Big Dance. The Spartans are finally healthy, and with the team’s leading rebounder Branden Dawson back in the lineup, they will dominate inside against this Delaware squad.
Historically, they have done well in first-round action and they ride a 7-3 ATS streak when laying double digits.
Smart betting pick
Michigan State has the talent of a No. 1 seed, and this matchup is even more lopsided than it appears. Dawson and Adreian Payne will own the paint, and the Spartans aren’t afraid to rub it in, as they are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games as double-digit favorites.
Delaware Blue Hens: No. 109
Michigan State Spartans: No. 36 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- MSU won and covered five straight on way to Big Ten title
- MSU 7-3 ATS past 10 as double-digit favorites, but lost twice SU in that role
- MSU 12-4 SU, 10-6 ATS in first-round games
- Delaware 19-2 SU since January 2014
- Delaware 10-3 ATS past 13 games as underdogs