While Alabama has ridden through its non-conference schedule, Michigan State has struggled with some of the best teams in the country. This increased competition could better prepare the underdogs Spartans for a win tonight.
The No. 18 Alabama Crimson Tide will be looking to go 5-0 in the year when they take on the No. 12 Michigan State Spartans Friday night in Portland.
Alabama and Michigan State face off in the Quarterfinals of the Phil Knight Invitational. It’s the first real test for the Crimson Tide, who have dominated their mid-major competition so far this year.
The increase in competition will give us a better picture of what kind of team the Tide are this year. We’ll find out if they hold up against the Spartans in our college basketball tips and predictions for Alabama vs. Michigan State Thanksgiving.
The best odds between Alabama and Michigan State
Selection and predictions between Alabama and Michigan State
Michigan State (3-1) has already faced some major elite competition this year. The Spartans dropped a 64-63 thriller against the Gonzaga Bulldogs before beating the Kentucky Wildcats in double overtime and holding off the Villanova Wildcats by two last Friday.
That’s a definite difference in the level of competition compared to how Alabama (4-0) started the year. The Crimson Tide has faced four underwhelming teams, with perhaps the biggest name among them being the Liberty Flames – who defeated Alabama 95-59.
However, things did not go entirely smoothly for the tide. Alabama has never been in danger of losing a game, but the South Alabama Jaguars came close to them last week, losing 65-55 and playing evenly with the Crimson Tide in the second half.
The Spartans have several players who can make the difference in any game and who have already shown they can score against the best teams in the country. Senior forward Joey Hauser leads the team with 14 ppg, but it could be teammate Tyson Walker who emerges as Michigan State’s No. 1 offense. The guard scored 22 points in the win over Villanova, a high of the season for Walker.
Meanwhile, Alabama’s offense will revolve around freshman forward Brandon Miller, who is already lighting up the stats early in his collegiate career. Miller is averaging 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds for the year but has yet to face the level of competition he will see Thursday.
That will be a theme in this analysis, and for good reason. Not only was Alabama able to look good because of the little competition they played against, but they also didn’t have to deal with pressure late in the game.
That puts the Crimson Tide at a significant disadvantage tonight. Alabama is a good team that will be among the favorites to win the SEC title this year — and they will be a dangerous team in March — but Michigan State has just as much talent and has fended off much better teams before.
Alabama is the favorite tonight and if they played at home I think that would be justified. However, in a neutral game, I think this is Michigan State’s game to lose. I’m not just backing the Spartans, I’m doing it on the money line with the expectation that they’ll pick up another narrow win over a top-flight opponent.
my best bet: Michigan State Moneyline (+160 at DraftKings)
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Spread analysis between Alabama and Michigan State
Alabama opened today’s game as a 2.5-point favorite. That number has gone up a bit, with Michigan State +4 now being the main line on most books.
While I like that the Spartans are winning this game right off the bat, there’s some logic behind that line movement. Michigan state guard Jaden Akins is a question for Thursday night after pinching his foot against Villanova.
Akins has had problems with his foot before and although Michigan State coach Tom Izzo says this isn’t a serious re-injury, it could keep him out tonight.
Akins is an important part of Michigan State’s rotation. He’s essentially the sixth man to average over 20 minutes per game so far this year. However, this is more of a depth issue than a talent issue.
The Spartans are already sitting out Tyson Walker for almost the entire game every night, and point guard AJ Hoggard is likely to see a few more minutes to cover for Akin’s absence.
In my best bet analysis above, I laid out the reasons Michigan State should win tonight. However, I think getting the Spartans and the points is also an excellent choice. Given what we’ve seen this year, we can bet they’ll play another tight wire-to-wire game with the Crimson Tide.
If you’re not as confident as I am that they’ll pull out the win, four points gives you a nice cushion considering this team lost by just one to Gonzaga earlier this year.
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Over/under analysis between Alabama and Michigan State
College basketball odds opened tonight at 144.5 and most sites are still offering 145.5 over/under as of Thursday afternoon.
Although both teams are struggling with some injuries for this Thanksgiving match, these are still two lineups that can score in heaps. Alabama is averaging 84.8 points per game, albeit against weaker competition than they’ll see tonight.
Meanwhile, Michigan State was able to post 73.8 ppg even against some of the best teams in the country. However, they only played one game over tonight’s total and that was a double overtime encounter against Kentucky.
The Crimson Tide love to shoot the ball from behind the arch. Alabama has attempted more than 32 three-pointers per game this year, and while they hit a modest 33.6% of those shots, they add up quickly. Notably, Miller shoots 51.7% from deep this year, with second-top scorer Mark Sears also clipping at 41.7%.
Michigan State should be able to slow down that barrage somewhat, presenting a much tougher defensive challenge for Alabama than previous Crimson Tide opponents.
Even against weaker opponents, Alabama has been held at 65 by South Alabama and 75 by Longwood, so there’s no reason to expect this to be a wild shootout. The Under is the smart game here.
Alabama vs Michigan State betting trend to get to know
Michigan State is 7-1 against the spread in its last eight neutral site games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Alabama vs. Michigan State.
Alabama vs. Michigan State game information
|Location:||Moda Center, Portland, OR|
|Tip:||10:30 p.m. ET|
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