Rutgers vs Michigan State Basketball Prediction & Picks: Spartans seek valuable win over Scarlet Knights

Eddie Griffin

Tyson Walker and Michigan State very nearly had a signature win for their NCAA Tournament resume on Monday, but Zach Edey and Purdue ripped it away from them. Tonight, the Spartans will look to fare better in their second crack at a home win over a ranked foe this week as #23 Rutgers visits East Lansing.

Tonight’s tilt at the Breslin Center is set for a 6:30 pm ET tip, and FS1 will air all of the action between the Spartans (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten) and Scarlet Knights (13-5, 5-2 Big Ten).

Against Purdue, Walker scored a season-high 30 points, the last two of which came on a basket that put the Spartans ahead 63-62 with a dozen seconds left.

But Edey and the Boilermakers had the last word, with the Wooden Award favorite scoring the winning basket to give Purdue a 64-63 win.

A win over the Scarlet Knights won’t quite compare, but it would certainly be an important win for NCAA Tournament seeding purposes for the Spartans, who come in as a #7 seed in ESPN’s latest Bracketology update.

Who will come out on top tonight at the Breslin Center? Read on for our Rutgers vs Michigan State prediction and picks.

Rutgers vs Michigan State Odds

Odds are via BetMGM as of Thursday, January 19, 2023, at 10:15 am ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.

Spread

  • Rutgers +2.5 (-105)
  • Michigan State -2.5 (-115)

Over/Under

  • Over 126.5 (-105)
  • Under 126.5 (-115)

Moneyline

  • Rutgers +125
  • Michigan State -150

Will Mid-Major Transfers Take Center Stage for Both Rutgers & Michigan State?

Walker’s first season after transferring from Northeastern might not have gone as he had hoped, but his second season in East Lansing looks to be on course to end much better.

Monday’s 30-point effort was his best as a Spartan, as he made 12 of 23 from the field, including 4 of 8 from three, and sank both of his free throws. Walker leads the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game, and he is shooting 41.3% from three.

Like Michigan State, Rutgers is led in scoring by a mid-major transfer. Cam Spencer, who transferred in this past offseason after three seasons at Loyola (Maryland) of the Patriot League, is back in form after a frustrating December.

In Sunday’s overtime win over Ohio State, Spencer had 21 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, following his season-high 23 points and six threes in the Scarlet Knights’ win at Northwestern. For the season, Spencer is averaging 13.9 PPG and shooting 46.7% from three.

Both of these teams rely heavily on their starters, and both are at their best when things are going well on the defensive end.

The Spartans are 7-2 this season when allowing 65 or fewer points, with the two losses being 64-63 setbacks to Gonzaga and Purdue. On the other side, the Scarlet Knights are 13-1 when allowing 65 or fewer points, with the lone loss a 45-43 home loss to Seton Hall on December 10.

Rutgers vs Michigan State Prediction and Picks

Rutgers vs Michigan State Prediction: Michigan State to win

Rutgers vs Michigan State Picks: Michigan State ML (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook) & Michigan State team total over 64.5 (BetRivers)

Monday’s loss to Purdue was Michigan State’s fourth game decided by one or two this season, while Rutgers has had four games decided by three or fewer points.

In a game that could certainly be tight, I feel far more comfortable seeing where I can find the most ML value rather than playing the spread. With that in mind, Caesars Sportsbook is the only place I found with odds longer than -150.

Both Rutgers and Michigan State are capable of getting hot from three from time to time, but I don’t expect either team to exceed the low 70s at best.

That said, I do think the winner of the game will manage to hit 65 points, even if it takes some late free throws to do so. And with me backing the Spartans to win, I’m also backing them to go over their team total of 64.5.

Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.