Michigan State Spartans vs. Butler Bulldogs Picks, Predictions, Odds

Nov. 17, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Michigan State Spartans (1-1) travel to Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to tangle with the Butler Bulldogs (3-0) on Wednesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on FOX Sports 1.

Score Prediction

Michigan State 69, Butler 60

Best Bets

Michigan State -145 ML

Under 131.5 (-110)

Michigan State Spartans vs. Butler Bulldogs Predictions

Michigan State is battle tested. The unranked Spartans had a measuring-stick game to open the season, and they weren't quite up to snuff to challenge Kansas for a full 40 minutes. The Spartans fell 87-74 at Madison Square Garden against the Jayhawks, but they learned a lot about themselves in the process. Michigan State then came home to the Breslin Center in East Lansing and hammered Western Michigan 90-46, easily covering a 25-point number. So Michigan State might not be ready to sack the nation's top teams just yet, but they're good enough to beat most everyone else on any given night.

We're still trying to figure out Butler. The Bulldogs are 3-0, but it's a rather soft 3-0. Butler has topped IUPUI by nine points as a 24.5-point favorite, it dropped Central Arkansas by 32 at Hinkle Friday, covering a 22.5-point number, and then it eased by Troy by 11 points, failing against the number for a second time in three outings. The one consistent thing about Butler has been defense, allowing 53.0 PPG while hitting the UNDER in each of its three contests.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Butler Bulldogs Betting Odds

More Odds | Futures Odds

  • Michigan State -145
  • Butler +120
  • Michigan State -2.5 (-110)
  • Butler +2.5 (-110)
  • Over 131.5 (-110)
  • Under 131.5 (-110)
  • Michigan State Spartans vs. Butler Bulldogs Betting Resources

    • Matchup: Big 10 vs. Big East
    • Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021
    • Venue: Hinkle Fieldhouse
    • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
    • TV-Time: FS1 - 7:00 p.m. ET

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    Michigan State Spartans Betting Analysis

    Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

    • SU: 1-1
    • ATS: 1-1
    • O/U: 1-1

    So which Michigan State team will we get here? The one which hung with Kansas for a little while before running out of steam in the second half in New York City? Or will we get the team which spanked Western Michigan in the home opener? I get the sneaking suspicion that we'll get something in between, as Butler should put up a pretty good fight.

    There's not a lot to glean from the betting trends, as we have just two games played for Michigan State. But the Spartans are 8-19 ATS in the past 27 games overall, including 2-9 ATS in the past 11 on the road. The UNDER has cashed in seven of the past nine games overall, too, including 1-1 so far this season.

    Michigan State is still trying to mesh, folding in some new faces to the existing veterans. G Tyson Walker transferred in from Northeastern, and could be a valuable rotation player off the bench for head coach Tom Izzo once he gets settled into his new digs. He has averaged 5.5 PPG and 4.0 APG to date, but also 3.0 turnovers per game, which simply will not do. G Max Christie was a highly-coveted player and big-time recruit. He has 7.5 PPG in his two outings, but his shooting has been off, hitting just 27.8% from the field, or 5-for-18, while turning it over three times through two outings. Once Christie and Walker get up to speed, this is going to be a bunch with a lot of depth.

    Butler Bulldogs Betting Analysis

    Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

    • SU: 3-0
    • ATS: 1-2
    • O/U: 0-3

    Butler has had strong guard play early on. The team's top three scorers are guards, and G Jair Bolden is burning it up from behind the perimeter, hitting 58.8% on 3-pointers. The Bulldogs are going to need an inside presence to go along with its strong backcourt. F Bryce Nze has posted 8.3 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.3 APG and 1.3 SPG in three outings. Fs Ty Groce and/or Bryce Golden will need to step up their game to help out in the middle.

    The Bulldogs will get some help from G Aaron Thompson, who returns from a three-game suspension to start the season. He is the starting point guard, giving the backcourt more depth. Thompson's return will allow Harris to move back to shooting guard after handling the point during Thompson's stead.

    The UNDER is 4-1-1 in the past six home games at Hinkle for the Bulldogs, including a perfect 3-0 so far this season. As far as head-to-head, these teams met April 3, 2010, a 52-50 win by Butler in the 2010 Final Four semifinal down the road at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. These teams have met 15 times, with Michigan State taking 10 previous meetings, but it's the first scheduled battle since December 1971.

    Michigan State's A.J. Hoggard has hit 11 of his 18 field-goal attempts so far this season. (AP)

    Inside the Stats - Michigan State Spartans

    • Record: 1-1
    • VI Ranking: 32
    • PS/G: 82.0
    • PA/G: 66.5
    • ORtg: 44.0
    • DRtg: 27.0

    Inside the Stats - Butler Bulldogs

    • Record: 3-0
    • VI Ranking: 76
    • PS/G: 70.3
    • PA/G: 53.0
    • ORtg: 32.0
    • DRtg: 22.0

    Key Players to Watch

    • MSU: Gabe Brown - F (13.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG)
    • MSU: A.J. Hoggard - G (12.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.0 RPG)
    • BUT: Chuck Harris - G (15.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.3 APG)
    • BUT: Jayden Taylor - G (13.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.0 APG)

    Michigan State Spartans vs. Butler Bulldogs Betting Conclusion

    Michigan State will find out a lot about themselves in this one. The Spartans have a ton of talent, but they're still jelling together and figuring things out. Butler hasn't played anybody of note, and this will be a giant step up in competition, and a measuring-stick game for the Bulldogs, a la the Kansas opener for Sparty. The Big East is 4-0 so far against the Big Ten, but Sparty is going to change that, and do so in the home arena of a Big East squad.

    The return of Thompson will be huge for the Bulldogs. He missed the first three games, and his injury last season in the second half really sent Butler into disarray, and they were fairly uneven down the stretch. Butler has some depth, particularly in the backcourt, but it remains to be seen if their frontcourt can handle the big bodies Izzo and the Spartans will be rolling out there. I suspect that Butler will feed off the crowd at Hinkle early in a very entertaining first half. In fact, player Butler plus the points in the first half might not be a bad idea. But in the end Michigan State will prove to be just too talented. Look for Sparty to roll in the second half, and flirt with a possible double-digit win in Indy.

    Michigan State Spartans vs. Butler Bulldogs Betting Trends

    • Michigan State is 2-9 ATS in the past 11 road games.
    • Butler is 1-4 ATS in its past five non-conference home games.
    • The UNDER is 7-2-1 in Butler's past 10 games at home.
    • The UNDER is 7-2 in Michigan State's past nine games overall.