The Michigan State Spartans take on the upset-minded Harvard Crimson and beware chalk-lovers, because No. 12 seeds are 6-1 against the spread run against No. 4 seeds since 2006.
Michigan State is looking to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row, while Harvard eyes its third tournament win in school history.
Harvard is riding a 7-1 spread streak in its past eight games, while the Spartans are perfect at the betting window in their past six.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Spartans opened as 4.5-point favorites but the line was bet up to seven points by late Friday; the total was 137. (Compare lines and consensus betting data on the Odds Shark matchup report)
Odds Shark computer pick
73.6-71.7 Michigan State
Why pick Harvard to cover the spread
Harvard has made it this far thanks to its 13th-best defense that allows a modest 60.4 points per game. And since the Spartans have been prone to scoring droughts, averaging 58.7 points in each of its last six losses, this could be another good spot for the No. 12 Crimson.
They have been money against the betting line in recent games and trend heavily to the under when they are underdogs.
Why pick Michigan State to cover the spread
The No. 4 Spartans are finally healthy, having won and covered in six straight games, including their 93-78 win over Delaware in the opening round.
Harvard is a weak rebounding team, ranking 207th in the nation, and Adreian Payne is coming off a 41-point, eight-rebound night. He could dominate the Crimson in the paint.
Smart betting pick
History often repeats itself, and Cincinnati found that out the hard way after becoming the second straight first-round upset victim of Harvard.
But last year, after Harvard upset New Mexico, the Crimson was throttled 74-51 in the next round by Arizona. Michigan State will extend a 7-2 win streak against the point spread in the second round with a win and covers on Saturday. The Spartans are the pick.
Harvard Crimson: No. 13
Michigan State Spartans: No. 36 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- 12 seeds are 6-1 ATS vs 4 seeds since 2006
- Harvard is 7-1 ATS past eight games
- UNDER is 9-2 past 11 Harvard games when underdog
- Michigan State is 6-0 ATS past six games
- Michigan State is 8-2 ATS past 10 games as favorites
- Michigan State is 7-2 ATS in 9 second-round games since 2001