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Michigan State vs Kansas State Predictions, Odds, and Picks: Guard Play Will Be on Display

The Sweet 16 brings us a big matchup between the Spartans and Wildcats on Thursday night at MSG. Read why we're targeting the total instead of backing a side by reading our Michigan State vs. Kansas State betting picks.

Last Updated: Mar 23, 2023 12:16 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

Michigan State and Kansas State are set to battle it out on Thursday in our March Madness picks, with a trip to the Elite Eight up for grabs.

Kansas State's win over Kentucky last weekend marked the Cats' first Sweet 16 appearance since 2018. On the other side, this feels like an old hat for legendary head coach Tom Izzo. Now in his 15th Sweet 16, Izzo's Spartans got here by defeating Marquette in a game that its defense controlled mostly throughout.

March Madness odds currently have the Spartans penned as one-point chalk. Find out where the betting edge lies for this one by checking our college basketball picks and predictions for Michigan State vs. Kansas State on March 23.

Michigan State vs Kansas State best odds

Michigan State vs Kansas State picks and predictions

I have long admired Tyson Walker, and he should have a favorable matchup here. Walker's play has been dynamic, and he's coming into this game coming off a 23-point performance for Michigan State.

On the other side of the ball, you have Markquis Nowell. Kansas State has allowed him to take control of its offense, which propelled him to a 27-point performance in the win over Kentucky.

My projections have this game as a virtual coin-flip, with Kansas State edging out Michigan State by a single point. My forecasts also have an expectation that both teams get close to or even eclipse 70 points, putting this total at 143. That's nearly a 6-point difference against the number and one I'll happily act on.

While Michigan State stifled Marquette's ball screen actions, I'm not sure that will be replicated here. Watching that game, I felt a general softness to the Golden Eagles' play and hesitation of the moment.

You won't get that from the Cats, who just came off a win against a blueblood in Kentucky. Kansas State will attack a Michigan State defense that is allowing 0.79 points per possession and is just average at defending the pick-and-roll this season. 

On the other side of the ball, I expect Michigan State to have a host of successes attacking Kansas State in transition. Sparty doesn't want to play at a quick tempo, but they'll look for those chances, and if they are there, we'll happily take them. I expect them to succeed against a Kansas State defense that has allowed over a point per possession in transition and was one of the worst in the Big 12.

Take the Over in this spot. Each team boasts guards that should be able to regularly score in the halfcourt, and this game will likely have a faster pace than expected. Even after an extremely slow start in the first half between Kansas State and Kentucky, the game ultimately went over the pregame number.

I could see a similar scenario unfolding here.

My best bet: Over 137.5 (-108 at BetRivers)

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Michigan State vs Kansas State spread analysis

This spread opened up with Kansas State as a one-point favorite at some offshore books, and now that line has flipped in favor of Michigan.

64% of the public is currently siding with Kansas State on the spread according to our Covers Consensus page. If you're betting against Izzo in March, however, that is often a fool's errand. It's enough to make me pause completely on a side here, too.

Michigan State vs Kansas State Over/Under analysis

I love the fact that I'm getting a number below 139. Following a massive trend of the Under cashing in first-round matchups, all of the games on Sunday went Over except for one. 

There is more interest in fouling to the bitter end and extending the game as long as possible. You'll likely get some of that here, with the game expected to be tight throughout.

Michigan State vs Kansas State betting trend to know

The Over is 4-0 in Kansas State's last four NCAA tournament games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Michigan State vs. Kansas State.

Michigan State vs Kansas State game info

Region: East
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York, NY
Date: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Tip-off: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: TBS

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