The Big Ten may catch some flak for its style of play and its lack of national championships, but it has placed three teams in the final eight of this year's NCAA tournament.
One of those is the surging Michigan State Spartans, who are 6-1 straight up and 5-1-1 against the spread in the Elite Eight since 1996. They will be shooting for another Final Four appearance when they take on the Connecticut Huskies in the East Region final on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
UConn continues its unlikely run toward the Final Four and is dangerous at the betting window, especially catching points.
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Spartans opened as six-point favorites; the total was 139.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Connecticut to cover the spread
The Huskies, seeded No. 7 in the East after going 12-6 in the AAC this season, have won eight of their last 10 games with the only two losses coming against Louisville.
UConn opened this Dance by rallying to beat St. Joe's in overtime, then upset No. 2 Villanova and held off No. 3 Iowa State. Connecticut was perhaps a bit underrated coming into this tournament, as just before it started you could bet the Huskies at upwards of 20/1 just to win the East Region.
UConn is now 10-5 straight up and 9-6 against the spread versus tournament qualifiers this season and 10-4-1 ATS in its last 15 games as an underdog.
Why pick Michigan State to cover the spread
The Spartans came into this tournament as a No. 4 seed, but they were actually playing at the level of about a No. 2 seed and everyone knew it. Michigan State was banged up during the regular season, but right now it's as healthy as it's been all year long.
The Spartans, champions of the Big Ten tournament, opened the Dance with a relatively easy win over Delaware, then held off Harvard and most recently out-scrapped top-seeded Virginia on Friday night 61-59.
Michigan State lost seven of its last 12 regular-season games but has won six games in a row exactly at the right time.
Smart betting pick
The Huskies have had a nice run, but now they run into a battle-tested Spartans squad that's probably playing its best ball of the season.
UConn can at times rely a bit too much on Shabazz Napier, while a healthy Michigan State has several weapons it can go to in this game.
Give the points and go with the Spartans.
Connecticut Huskies: No. 190
Michigan State Spartans: No. 36 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
March Madness betting trends
- Rematch of 2009 Final Four game won by MSU
- Michigan State 7-1 ATS past eight games
- Spartans are 6-1 SU, 5-1-1 ATS in Elite 8 since 1996
- UConn 2-5 ATS past seven trips to Elite 8
- UConn 10-4-1 ATS past 15 games as underdogs