The third-seeded Michigan Wolverines (28-7) will try to parlay their successful Big Ten tournament run into another extended stay in the NCAA tournament, starting against the 14th-seeded Montana Grizzlies (26-7) as double-digit favorites in Thursday's round-of-64 matchup.
The Wolverines are coming off their second straight conference tournament title and made it to the Sweet 16 a year ago before losing to the third-seeded Oregon Ducks as a No. 7 seed.
March Madness point spread: The Wolverines opened as 12-point favorites; the total is at 135, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report.)
March Madness betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 72.0-70.1, Wolverines (March Madness picks on every game.)
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Why Montana can cover the spread
The Grizzlies are riding a six-game winning streak into the Big Dance, also going 19-2 in their last 21. They went 16-2 in Big Sky play alone and are the conference's only team coming off a victory.
Montana crushed the Eastern Washington Eagles 82-65 as 4.5-point favorites in the Big Sky tournament championship game last Saturday for their first cover in four games. However, the Grizzlies were favored by double digits in two of those failed covers and still won the games by an average of 9.5 points.
Why Michigan can cover the spread
Michigan's John Beilein continues to impress as one of the nation's best college basketball head coaches, as proved by the team's latest Big Ten tournament title. Nobody wants to play the Wolverines right now, which is a credit to Beilein's ability to get them peaking by March.
They were 18-6 after losing on the road to the Purdue Boilermakers back on January 25 and have since gone 11-1, capped by their current nine-game winning streak. Michigan is also an outstanding 8-1 against the spread during that stretch.
Smart betting pick
Montana has dropped six of its previous seven games versus Big Ten opponents, so do not look for an upset here. The Grizzlies have quite simply not been tested by quality competition like the Wolverines, who have also won six in a row straight up and ATS against teams with winning records.
Michigan has the looks of a potential Final Four team under Beilein, and the team's tight defense will help cover the big point spread.
March Madness betting trends
Michigan is 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS in its last nine games.
The total has gone over in Michigan's last five games.
Montana is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 games against teams with winning records.
All college basketball odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.