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Dec 31, 2021

Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Picks, Predictions, Odds

Jan. 2, 2022
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

The Michigan State Spartans (11-2, 2-0) and Northwestern Wildcats (8-2, 1-0) square off Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on Big Ten Network.

Score Prediction

Michigan State 69, Northwestern 62

Best Bets

Michigan State - BetMGM

Under ( ) at BetMGM

Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Predictions

After an eight-day hiatus due to the holidays, Sparty was back at it in an 81-68 victory over High Point. However, Michigan State never came close to covering a 22.5-point number. Michigan State had five players in double digits against the Panthers of HPU, including a double-double from Joey Hauser, going for 17 points and 11 rebounds. Efficiency was the rule of the day, hitting 47% (28-of-59) from the field, while going 50% (12-of-24) from downtown. The Spartans were also a respectable 76% (13-of-17) from the charity stripe. Michigan State will be in good shape if it can continue to get bench scoring, especially as we get deeper into the conference schedule. Malik Hall and A.J. Hoggard combined for 23 points and 12 assists with seven total boards off the pine.

Northwestern spanked Illinois-Springfield, a Division II school, last time out on Dec. 20. The Wildcats won 90-50, and there was no spread offered on the game. And, in case you were wondering, the mascot for UIS is the Prairie Stars, just so you know. Pass it along. Anyway, for N'western, they have alternated non-covers and covers in each of the past eight games dating back to Nov. 12, when they pounded High Point 95-60 to cover a 19-point spread, if you're looking at common opponents.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Betting Odds

  • Michigan State -
  • Northwestern +
  • Michigan State - ( )
  • Northwestern + ( )
  • Over ( )
  • Under ( )

More Odds | Futures Odds

Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 10
  • Date: Sunday, January 2, 2022
  • Venue: Welsh-Ryan Arena
  • Location: Evanston, Illinois
  • TV-Time: BTN - 2:00 p.m. ET

Michigan State Spartans Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 11-2
  • ATS: 8-4-1
  • O/U: 7-5-1

The Spartans will be glad to get into conference play, and bettors love to see it, too. Michigan State has cashed in seven of the previous nine regular-season games against conference foes, including the first two league games this season against Penn State Dec. 11, and at Minnesota on Dec. 8. The Spartans won 80-64 at home against the Nittany Lions to cover a 10-point number, while barely covering as seven-point faves against the Gophers in the Twin Cities, 75-67. But, a cover is a cover, and bettors were plenty happy.

Michigan State failed to cover last time out against HPU. However, Michigan State hasn't had back-to-back non-covers all season. In fact, Sparty hasn't had consecutive non-covers in the regular season since an 0-4 ATS skid from Feb. 6-16 last season. In its most recent trip to Northwestern, on Dec. 20, 2020, Sparty was manhandled 79-65 as 7.5-point favorites as the UNDER connected. That was the only meeting last season between these two combatants. This is just Michigan State's second trip to Evanston since Feb. 17, 2018. The Spartans won 65-60 that day, but failed to cash on a nine-point number as, yes, the UNDER hit then, too.

  • Michigan State is 8-3-1 ATS across the 12 games overall.
  • Michigan State is 4-8 ATS across the past 12 road games.
  • Michigan State is 7-2 ATS in the past nine regular-season games vs. Big Ten.
  • Northwestern is 4-7-1 ATS across the past 12 home games.
  • The OVER is 5-0 in the past five games for Michigan State.
  • The UNDER is 3-1 in the past four games for Northwestern.
  • The home team is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings in this series.
  • The UNDER is 6-1-1 in the past eight meetings in this series.
  • Northwestern Wildcats Betting Analysis

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

    • SU: 8-2
    • ATS: 5-4
    • O/U: 4-5

    The most impressive showing for the Wildcats this season might have been the 67-61 win at Maryland on Dec. 5 to kick off the Big Ten conference slate. The Wildcats covered as 5.5-point underdogs as the UNDER connected, and Northwestern served notice to the rest of the league that it shouldn't be taken lightly. Northwestern is looking to equal a season high of four straight games with a win, as they also opened the year with four consecutive victories from Nov. 9-18, although the competition lately has been much more stiff than the tomato cans they faced back in November.

    Northwestern hasn't had a lot of success at home lately, going 4-7-1 ATS in the past 12 games at home. The good news for the Wildcats, and potential backers, is that the home team has cashed in each of the past six games in this series, all lower-scoring games. The UNDER is 6-1-1 in the past eight in this series, so expect a grind-it-out, defensive affair in Evanston. That's Northwestern's calling card, as the Wildcats have held the opposition to 36.6% from the field, good for seventh in the nation.

    Inside the Stats - Michigan State Spartans

    • Record: 11-2
    • VI Ranking:
    • PS/G: 75.8 (110th)
    • PA/G: 65.3 (104th)
    • ORtg: 108.4 (79th)
    • DRtg: 93.4 (103rd)

    Inside the Stats - Northwestern Wildcats

    • Record: 8-2
    • VI Ranking:
    • PS/G: 79.0 (49th)
    • PA/G: 60.8 (38th)
    • ORtg: 112.1 (33rd)
    • DRtg: 86.2 (25th)

    Key Players to Watch

    • MSU: Marcus Bingham, Jr. - F (10.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 59.1 FG%)
    • MSU: Gabe Brown - F (14.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 39.5 3P%)
    • NW: Boo Buie - G (14.9 PPG, 5.7 APG, 2.4 RPG, 0.9 SPG)
    • NW: Pete Nance - F (16.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 2.0 BPG)

    Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Betting Conclusion

    The ranked Spartans head to Evanston, and it's a dangerous spot. The Wildcats are a tremendous defensive team which will look to slow down the tempo a bit and make Sparty work. Northwestern's offense is pretty solid, and they can run if they have to, and they're a good team from the free-throw stripe in a close game. The key in this game will be whether or not Northwestern can slow down Michigan State along the perimeter. The Spartans are a tremendous 3-point shooting team, hitting 39.8% from behind the arc. The Wildcats are a suffocating defense in the paint, but for whatever reason they struggle at the perimeter, as opponents are hitting at a 34.9% clip on threes.

    I think this is going to be a close battle, with the ranked Michigan State team escaping with a win. They're just deeper, and this team is battle tested with several difficult games on the road and on neutral floors already this season. Northwestern is going to be a force to be contended with in the Big Ten, and they have the look of an NCAA Tournament team. If you know their background, that's a rarity, as this team has been dancing just once in school history. That appearance in the Big Dance came in 2017. They won't add to their resume with a win here, but they will give Michigan State a very tough time.

    Michigan State Spartans vs. Northwestern Wildcats Betting Trends

    • Michigan State is 8-3-1 ATS across the 12 games overall.
    • Michigan State is 4-8 ATS across the past 12 road games.
    • Michigan State is 7-2 ATS in the past nine regular-season games vs. Big Ten.
    • Northwestern is 4-7-1 ATS across the past 12 home games.
    • The OVER is 5-0 in the past five games for Michigan State.
    • The UNDER is 3-1 in the past four games for Northwestern.
    • The home team is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings in this series.
    • The UNDER is 6-1-1 in the past eight meetings in this series.


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