Iowa vs Michigan State Odds, Picks and Predictions: Spartans Match Hawkeyes' Quick Pace

With Iowa being one of the fastest teams in the nation and Michigan State happy to oblige, tonight's Big Ten battle could see a plethora of points. Find out how to take advantage in our college basketball picks below.

Feb 20, 2024 • 13:00 ET • 4 min read
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Tom Izzo will have his team ready for March. That’s one of the rare events you can bank on in the topsy-turvy world of college basketball betting. Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans are the hottest team in the Big Ten, riding a three-game winning streak into tonight’s home stand with the Iowa Hawkeyes. 

The Spartans have actually won five of their last six outings, going 5-1 ATS in that span, and are back inside the Breslin Center after winning on the road at Michigan and Penn State last week.

The Hawkeyes are fresh off a thrilling home win over Wisconsin but have struggled when hitting the highway. Fran McCaffery’s program is just 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS in true road games this season and is tabbed as a sizable road underdog Tuesday.

I break down the point spread and Over/Under total for this Big Ten tilt and give my best college basketball picks for Iowa at Michigan State on February 20.

Iowa vs Michigan State best odds

Iowa vs Michigan State picks and predictions

The Iowa Hawkeyes bring their high-octane brand of basketball to the Breslin Center tonight.

Iowa runs the fastest pace in the Big Ten, thriving in transition and shooting at an extremely high rate. The Hawkeyes rank Top 25 in both tempo and average length of possession (16th shortest) and will try to suck the Michigan State Spartans into a track meet.

Overall, the Spartans run a more controlled pace on offense and work hard to drag out their rivals’ offensive possessions (20th-longest average length of possession allowed). However, we’ve seen MSU hit a higher gear against up-tempo teams and Tom Izzo’s offenses are always anchored in transition. 

Just look at recent wins against Penn State and Illinois — the next two fastest-paced teams in the conference. The Spartans won an 80-72 shootout at Penn State that blew through the closing total of 143 points and beat Illinois 88-80 at home, flattening the 144.5-point number.

Tonight’s total sits at 154.5 points which is the highest Over/Under for the Spartans all season, eclipsing their tallest total (150 at Illinois) by almost five points. Michigan State’s team total is at 82.5 points against one of the worst defenses in the Big Ten.

Izzo’s guys run a very efficient offense with one of the highest assist ratios in the land, either pushing the ball in transition or finding the open shooter in the halfcourt set. At home, Michigan State averages just over 79 points on 49% shooting, boasting an assist-to-FGM rate of 0.681 (14th highest in the country).

The Hawkeyes sit 259th in assist rate allowed and that measurement balloons when they play away from home. Iowa gives up just short of 82 points against as a visitor and has a tough time defending the perimeter against both catch-and-shoot and off-the-dribble 3-point attempts — two areas in which MSU excels. 

The last time these rivals clashed, the Spartans and Hawkeyes combined for 202 points in regulation before Iowa eventually won 112-106 in overtime in February of last season. The Green and White shot 59% from the floor inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena, including 11 of 15 attempts from beyond the arc. I expect a similar offensive tempo tonight.

The Hawkeyes could have a harder time replicating that past output in East Lansing, but MSU should thrive against a porous Iowa defense and welcome the uptick in tempo. I like the Spartans to surpass their team total of 82.5 points.

My best bet: Michigan State team total Over 82.5 (-103 at PROLINE+)

Iowa vs Michigan State same-game parlay

Michigan State moneyline

Over 152.5

The Spartans are surging and want to exact a little revenge for a blown lead in last year’s matchup with Iowa. 

MSU never steered away from tempo, so expect up-and-down offense with plenty of field goal attempts from both sides.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Iowa vs Michigan State spread and Over/Under analysis

The Spartans opened as big as 10-point home chalk for this matchup with Iowa, but that spread slimmed to -9.5 this morning. Covers Consensus shows 63% of picks siding with the visiting Hawkeyes.

Iowa is always a live team due to its offensive firepower. The Hawkeyes rank 14th in points per game and have a deep and experienced rotation that features four players averaging at least 11 points.

They’ve come up short against the spread this season, boasting a 10-16 ATS mark on the year. Most of those flops have come on the road, however, with Fran McCaffery’s squad going just 2-7 SU and 3-6 ATS in true road games.

Michigan State has been especially “green” in recent weeks, stringing together a 5-1 ATS streak since January 30. That improves the Spartans to 15-10-1 ATS on the year, with a 13-2 SU record and 11-4 ATS count inside Breslin Center. 

Tonight’s total opened at 154 points and has bounced between that number and 154.5 as of Tuesday afternoon. Covers Consensus shows 55% of picks on the Under.

Iowa’s pace of play has pumped out a 17-9 Over/Under mark overall, including a 6-3 O/U record as a visitor. The Hawkeyes have topped the total in three of their last four outings, including going Over in regulation in the OT win over Wisconsin this weekend.

Michigan State is 12-14 O/U this season and has played Over the total only twice in the past six contests. At home, MSU owns an 8-5 O/U record and averages more than nine additional points compared to games away from East Lansing.

Iowa vs Michigan State betting trend to know

Iowa has gone Over the total in 21 of its last 32 games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Iowa vs. Michigan State.

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Iowa vs Michigan State game info

Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing, MI
Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

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