Iowa (-4.5) (-110) over Michigan State
I have been saying for months that Iowa is a legitimate Final Four team this season, and the Hawkeyes have been waiting a long time to avenge six consecutive losses to Michigan State. Iowa is going for a school-tying 21 consecutive wins at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, and coach McCaffery’s squad is more focused than ever following its 76-50 blowout win at Northwestern on Saturday. “If you’re going to win a championship — for any team in this league — you’re going to go through Michigan State. That’s just the standard that Tom Izzo has set,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “There’s a respect factor there and a realization that to beat them is something special.”
Michigan State arrives in town without the services of two of its top four scorers in Branden Dawson (10.2 points and 8.7 rebounds per game) and Adreian Payne (16.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game). Based on those losses, the Spartans will struggle to score against an outstanding Iowa defense that is limiting opponents to just 62.1 points per game at home on 35.1% shooting from the field and 23.7% shooting from beyond the arc. Overall, the Hawkeyes are 5.4 points per game better than average defensively (66.1 points per game to teams that combine to average 71.5 points per game), which is good enough to slow down a depleted Michigan State attack.
Iowa takes the floor with a prolific offense that is averaging 85.2 points per game against teams that would combine to allow just 69.1 points per game. Moreover, the Hawkeyes are 11-0 SU and 6-3 ATS at home where they are averaging 90.3 points per game on 50.2% shooting from the floor and 41.7% from three-point territory. Overall, Iowa is 16.1 points per game better than average offensively this season, which gives the Hawkeyes a solid 7.7 points per game advantage over Michigan State’s defense. I also like the fact that Iowa is shooting 72.5% from the foul line, including 72.7% at home and 75.0% over its last five games. Let’s also note that Iowa will dominate the boards behind Aaron White (6.4 rpg), Melsahn Basabe (6.6 rpg) and Jarrod Uthoff (5.4 rpg).
From a technical standpoint, Iowa is16-4 ATS versus teams with a winning record, 11-3 ATS versus teams who are outscoring their opponents by eight or more points and 17-3 ATS versus good defensive teams who are limiting their foes to 42% or less from the field. Iowa’s underrated status is evidenced by the fact that the Hawkeyes are 36-16 ATS over the last two seasons, including 24-10 ATS as favorites, 16-5 ATS as home favorites, 19-7 ATS versus conference opponents and 10-1 ATS when playing their third game in a one week period. Momentum is also beneficial to the Hawkeyes as they are a profitable 17-5 ATS after winning two of their last three games, 22-8 ATS after winning five of their last six games and 11-3 ATS off a conference win. Lay the points with Iowa and invest with confidence.