Spartans vs. Wildcats Prediction
The top two teams in the preseason poll will clash on opening night of the college basketball season as No. 1 Michigan State plays No. 2 Kentucky in the State Farm Champions Classic. Will MSU live up to its preseason billing and cover the short spread?
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Madison Square Garden at 9:30PM ET
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Public Betting Information
According to oddsmakers, the Spartans are a 3-point favorite on the spread line. The total is set at 138 points. As of Tuesday morning, 74 percent of public bets are coming in on Michigan State. Check out our NCAA Basketball Public Betting Page for up-to-date info.
Spartans enter with high hopes
After advancing to the Final Four last season yet again under head coach Tom Izzo and dismissing NCAA Tournament favorite Duke along the way, Michigan State enters the 2019-20 campaign loaded with returners and the No. 1 ranking in the country. All-American point guard Cassius Winston is back in the fold and he is one of the top candidates for National Player of the Year awards. Xavier Tillman has consistently improved his game and is a fantastic interior defender, while his minutes are primed for another uptick this season. The Spartans have a deep rotation in the forward/center spots after him with Kyle Ahrens, Thomas Kithier, Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham Jr. and Malik Hall all looking to contribute. Marquette transfer Joey Hauser was hoping to fit in but he has yet to be granted a waiver and as of this point will have to sit out the 2019-20 season. Aaron Henry, Rocket Watts Jr. and Foster Loyer will round out the backcourt while MSU hopes Joshua Langford can return from his ankle injury sometime after the calendar turns to 2020.
Wildcats boast more experience
Kentucky lost three first rounders to the NBA but returns a lot of talent that has seen significant time over the last season or two. Junior Nick Richards and sophomore EJ Montgomery both tested the NBA Draft waters, but ultimately decided to return. Richards started every game of his freshman season before dipping to a backup role last season. Bucknell graduate transfer Nate Sestina will give the Wildcats a long-range threat as he is a 38 percent 3-point shooter while also averaging 8.5 rebounds per game last season. Five-star freshman Kahlil Whitney and Keion Brooks will provide firepower from the wing and the interior, while returning point guard Ashton Hagans has the making of being a top-notch player his sophomore year as long as he shores up a couple weaknesses. Five-star guard Tyrese Maxey will be an emerging presence right off the bat and can excel at either guard spot. Johnny Juzang and Immanuel Quickley also will be looked at to spread the floor with their shooting.
NCAA Basketball Trends
The Spartans are 26-10 ATS in their last 36 games overall. Michigan State is 5-2 ATS in its last seven neutral site games.
The Wildcats are 7-0 ATS in their last seven non-conference games. Kentucky is 1-3-1 ATS in its last five games versus the Big Ten.
Michigan State is loaded, but I can't help but think how the Spartans often fall short in these early-season showdowns before turning it up as the season progresses. While the chemistry and level of play should be there for MSU, it is also running into a loaded and fairly experienced Kentucky squad. With what I see as almost a coin toss game, I'll gladly take the points with the Wildcats.
NCAA DAILY PREDICTION: KENTUCKY WILDCATS +3