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Michigan State Likely Underdog Against Baylor

A win over Baylor could turn Michigan State’s season in a positive direction




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tom izzo frustrated

Michigan State men’s basketball began the season No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25. Nine games into the season, the Spartans are unranked and sit below .500 with a 4-5 overall record. 

A season that began with Final Four aspirations has quickly shifted into a fight to regain NCAA Tournament positioning prior to the ramp-up of Big Ten play. The Spartans hold a major opportunity for a notable win Saturday when they play No. 6 Baylor in Detroit. 

The Bears are one of the best teams in college basketball this season, sitting at a perfect 9-0. A win for Michigan State would give the Spartans a massive boost heading into a manageable stretch of games. 

Likely underdog

While sports betting apps in Michigan such as BetMGM, BetRivers, Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel have yet to share an official betting line for Saturday’s game, basketball analytics site projects Michigan State as a 4-point underdog with a total around 144 points. 

Michigan State is just 3-6 against the spread this season, while Baylor is 6-2-1. The Bears have won seven of their nine games by double digits, although they’ve only played two teams inside the KenPom top 50.

The Spartans are currently ranked 36th in KenPom despite their slow start this season. They’ve come close to picking up a few notable wins. They hung close with both Duke and Arizona in matchups before ultimately faltering in the final minutes of each game. 

Big Ten title odds 

Despite a sluggish start to the season and an 0-2 record in Big Ten play, the Spartans (+1500) still have the fourth-shortest odds to win the Big Ten regular season on FanDuel. Purdue, which is 9-1 and 1-1 in league play, is the heavy favorite to win the conference at -125 odds. 

The Spartans and Tom Izzo can’t be thrilled about their 4-5 start, but they’re not in a noticeably worse spot than in-state rival Michigan. The Wolverines are 5-5 with three losses of four points or fewer, including an overtime loss to Oregon. 

Michigan is expected to be about a 20-point favorite Saturday against Eastern Michigan. The Wolverines have +3000 odds to win the Big Ten on FanDuel.

Head coach Juwan Howard, who has yet to return to the team in a full-time role after heart surgery in September, was recently involved in a confrontation with a strength and conditioning coach.

Photo: Steven Branscombe/Getty Images