Michigan State vs Iowa Odds and Picks

Aaron Henry holding ball at top of key being defended closely

Michigan State’s Aaron Henry, right, looks to drive against Purdue’s Brandon Newman during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. Purdue won 55-54. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
  • Iowa Hawkeyes vie for fifth straight win vs the visiting Michigan State Spartans on Thursday night
  • Michigan State will be without at least two players vs Iowa following an outbreak of COVID-19
  • We’ve got you covered with the odds and trends ahead of this Big Ten conference matchup

The Iowa Hawkeyes aim top continue their steady rise up the AP Top 25 national rankings when they host the faltering Michigan State Spartans on Thursday night as lofty 9.5-point favorites.

The Hawkeyes are coming off a decisive 86-71 win over Minnesota this past weekend to solidify their grasp on the No. 5 spot in the national rankings. The Spartans saw a modest two-game win streak halted with a 55-54 home loss to Purdue last time out, and saw their recent struggles complicated by the loss of two players, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s a look at the odds and trends ahead of Thursday night’s matchup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Michigan State Spartans vs Iowa Hawkeyes Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Michigan State Spartans +9.5 (-120) +370 O 158.5 (-114)
Iowa Hawkeyes -9.5 (-102) -480 U 158.5 (-106)

*Odds taken at FanDuel on 01/13/2021.

Spartans Struggle to Shake Rough Start

It has been a brutal start to conference play for the Spartans, who have claimed at least a share of top spot in the Big Ten regular season standings in each of the past three seasons. Winners in each of their first six outings, Michigan State has struggled against conference rivals. The squad squandered a 15-point halftime lead in last Friday’s loss to the Boilermakers as 6-point home chalk, and have now failed to cover in seven of eight outings, all while favored.

Scoring has emerged as a major concern. The Spartans have averaged a meagre 63.3 points per game during their current 2-4 slide, and have scored 56 or fewer points in two of their past four contests, including a recent 81-56 loss to the Golden Gophers in which they shot just 25.7% from the field.

COVID-19 Could Postponement Game

Making matters worse are the reports Wednesday afternoon indicating freshman Mady Sissoko and sophomore Steven Izzo have tested positive for COVID-19, ruling the pair out of team activities for 17 days, including Thursday’s date with the Hawkeyes.

Both Sissoko and Izzo have seen limited game action this season, although Sissoko has shown flashes of his defensive presence with an increasing role off the bench in recent outings. However, the positive cases do put the game at risk of postponement.

Hawkeyes Soaring

The Hawkeyes are likely happy to play on Thursday as they pursue a fifth straight win. Iowa avenged a tough Christmas Day loss to Minnesota with a last weekend’s win over the Golden Gophers to improve to 11-2 overall on the season.

Iowa has struggled to consistently reward loyal sports bettors in recent weeks, going 4-3 ATS in their past seven. However, the Hawkeyes have produced steady results while pegged as big favorites, going 12-0 SU and 10-2 ATS in their past 12 while favored by nine or more points.

Iowa Defense Standing Tall

In addition to reclaiming the No. 5 spot in the national rankings, the Hawkeyes are also a steady presence at the top of the Kenpom ratings, where they sit No. 3 overall, and trail only Gonzaga in adjusted offensive efficiency. However, the Iowa defense has limited opponents to just 71.2 points per game during the team’s 4-0 run, powering a 4-2 run for the UNDER in totals betting.

Now on a roll on the scoreboard and at the sportsbooks, Iowa is well positioned to end a five-game losing streak against the Spartans, and also claim their first home victory over Michigan State since 2015.

The Picks: Hawkeyes -9.5 (-102); UNDER 158.5 (-106)

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