Michigan State, long ago, earned a reputation for taking care of business when it comes to the latter stages of March Madness brackets.
That winning reputation extends to Vegas, where sportsbooks have grown to fear the Spartans as a ‘cover machine.’
"They have been to five Sweet 16s in the past decade and are 5-0 ATS in those games," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com. "Coach Izzo gets his team ready and they respond, which accounts for a slight increase in the point spread up to -5 today."
A slight majority of betting votes cast at OddsShark.com are siding with No. 4 Louisville however. And looking at their recent run of play, it’s not surprising.
The Cardinals have won and covered six straight games and have bitten very hard as an underdog with 8-3 ATS slate in their past 11 tries in that role. MSU looks to further disprove all the doubters who felt they did not deserve a No. 1 seed.
How They Match Up:
Rebounding is always a key handicapping consideration and the Cardinals are ranked No. 28 in NCAA hoops at 37.9 per game. Contrast that with Michigan State’s No. 26 mark in the paint. When it comes to three-point shooting, Michigan State is the No. 243-ranked team in the country at 5.4 per game, while Louisville rates No. 210 at 5.8 per game.
Defensively, Louisville features the nation's No. 46-rated defense on the road, allowing 64 points per game. Michigan State, meanwhile, comes in at No. 62 nationally in scoring at home.
Louisville was a 59-56 winner in its last match against New Mexico. They covered the two-point spread as favorites. Louisville got 17 points from Russ Smith en route to a 59-56 victory over New Mexico on Saturday at Rose Garden.
In their last action, Michigan State was a 65-61 winner against Saint Louis. They failed to cover the seven-point spread as favorites. Keith Appling scored 19 points leading the Spartans to a 65-61 victory over Saint Louis at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.