Coach Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans seem to be in contention for a national title every single year, even if they are never quite the favorite or highest-profile team in the tournament (that distinction typically goes to the Kentuckys and Dukes of the world). The Spartans have made four deep runs with eight second-round appearances over the last 10 years, and the they have one National Championship Game and two Semifinal Game appearances on their resume during that span.
Coach Izzo is once again knocking on the door of that ever-elusive second national title trophy as Michigan is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation and receiving the second-best national title futures odds. Let's take a closer look at the Spartans and figure out the best way to wager on the team heading into the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. All odds come from Bovada.
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2016 Michigan State Spartans National Title Betting Storylines
Michigan State has been in top form all season, with the exception of a three-game losing streak in mid-January, and the team closed out the regular season with a 10-1 record. Yet with all that success, Michigan State still ended the year two games behind Indiana in the Big Ten standings while being ranked higher than the Hoosiers in the AP Top 25 poll. Putting standings and rankings aside, however, what the Spartans have is one of the smartest squads in the entire nation. The team is ranked first in assists and 3-point shooting percentage, and the group continues to thrive on ball movement, unselfishness, and passing up good shots for great ones.
The NBA three-point-space-and-pace revolution started by the San Antonio Spurs and perfected by the Golden State Warriors has slowly crept its way into the college ranks, and Michigan State continues exemplify that style with unselfish play. The squad is being led by senior guard Denzel Valentine, who puts up 19.6 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. He recently earned All-America Team honors. Michigan State also has two other double-digit scores in Bryn Forbes and Matt Costello, who average 15 and 10 points per game, respectively.
2016 Michigan State Tournament Odds, ATS Record and Tournament History
Title Odds : +550 (second best in the nation)
Big Ten Odds : +140 (best in the conference)
ATS Record : 21-9 (11-4 home)
Tournament History : championships in 2000 and 1979, Final Four appearances: Nine total (2015 last time)
The Spartans may not be the top seed heading into the Big Ten Tournament, but they are still the favorite to take home the conference championship this weekend. The tournament is scheduled to begin on March 9 and hold its championship matchup on March 13. Michigan State will not play its first game until the quarterfinals on Friday, and most experts predict that the squad will grab a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a deep run this week (a Big Ten championship Game appearance should be enough to lock in a top seed).
Coach Izzo has kept his team knocking on the door of a National Championship with an Elite Eight and Final Four appearance during the last two seasons, and the next step is to play in the title game come April. For bettors, Michigan State is the type of organization that wins national titles and makes deep tournament runs, so taking a close look at both the Big Ten and title odds feels like an excellent proposition to make.
2016 Michigan State Spartans National Title Odds and Predictions
Michigan State struggled to open up conference play with four losses in a three-week span, but the team has since found its groove and ended the regular season with six straight double-digit victories. Coach Izzo has led the Spartans to consecutive deep tournament runs with the same core group of players, so another Final Four or even title game appearance wouldn't be surprising for the team. For Michigan State, the 2016 tournament seems to be Final Four of bust.
The squad doesn't need to win its conference tournament outright to grab a top seed, so I wouldn't go crazy on the Big Ten odds, but there seems to be excellent value on Michigan State making a deep run and contending for a national title. If you are rooting for the Spartans, there is definite value on this wager.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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