NCAA Tournament Betting: Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Skyler Carlin
Skyler Carlin@skyler_carlin
NCAA Tournament Betting: Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Picks, Prop Bets and Odds

Very few things on the sports calendar can match the excitement and unpredictability of the NCAA Tournament. So why not add betting to the mix via the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

The first game scheduled on Thursday will be between the Michigan State Spartans against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Which bets should you consider for the first game in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament?

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Betting Odds

Date and Time: Thursday, March 21st at 12:15 p.m. ET

Spread: Michigan State -1.5 (-110)

Total: 130.5


  • Michigan State: -126
  • Mississippi State: +105

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.

Michigan State Spartans

  • numberFire Ranking: 18th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 23rd
  • KenPom Ranking: 18th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 8th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 57th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 305th

Mississippi State Bulldogs

  • numberFire Ranking: 26
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 30
  • KenPom Ranking: 30
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 20
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 60
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 202

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Best Bet

Michigan State -1.5 (-110)

This is the time of year when Tom Izzo and Michigan State typically have success as a lower seed in the NCAA Tournament. After defeating the Marquette Golden Eagles as a 7 seed in last year's tournament, Izzo has the most wins by a coach as the lower-seeded team in college basketball history (16).

The Spartans enter as the No. 9 seed while the Bulldogs are the No. 8 seed in the West. Besides the historical success that Michigan State has had under Izzo, the Spartans appear to be the better team in this matchup.

Michigan State and Mississippi State have both lost five of their last seven contests, but the Bulldogs have a turnover issue. Mississippi State is 291st in offensive turnover rate (18.7) while Michigan State is 42nd in offensive turnover rate (14.7) and 71st in defensive turnover rate (18.7).

Despite bowing out of the Big Ten Tournament after two games, the Spartans covered the spread in their two contests against the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Purdue Boilermakers. For Michigan State to secure a win -- and cover the spread -- they'll need to keep Mississippi State off the offensive glass and avoid sending the Bulldogs to the free throw line.

The Bulldogs are 21st in offensive rebound rate (35.4%) and 56th in free-throw rate (37.9%). While Michigan State is ranked just 163rd in defensive rebound rate (28.7), they just managed to out-rebound Purdue -- who is 23rd in defensive rebound rate (24.7%) -- in their last game.

With the Spartans deploying an experienced guard trio of Tyson Walker (18.2 PPG), A.J. Hoggard (11.0 PPG), and Jaden Akins (10.2 PPG), I'll take Michigan State to cover the spread versus Mississippi State.

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State Prop Bet

Jaden Akins Over 3.5 Rebounds (-125)

Rebounding is going to be crucial in a game between two teams that prefer to slow the game down. Even though Malik Hall (12.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG) leads Michigan State in rebounding, the guards for the Spartans should have a decent amount of rebounding opportunities on Thursday.

Akins averages the fourth-most rebounds per game (3.8) for Michigan State, tallying four-plus rebounds in three consecutive outings. Despite Akins recording four-plus rebounds in only 17 of his 33 appearances this season, Mississippi State's struggles from beyond the arc should lead to more boards.

The Bulldogs are 154th in three-point rate (38.2%) and are 247th in three-point percentage (32.5%). Given the somewhat low total of 130.5, Akins and the Spartans should have success on the glass.

Tolu Smith Under 13.5 Points (-114)

The second-leading scorer for Mississippi State is Tolu Smith (15.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG), but the 6-foot-10 forward could struggle to put the ball in the basket versus Michigan State. Smith has logged 14-plus points in just two of his last six games, and he's achieved that scoring mark in only six of his last 12 contests.

Smith does all of his damage in the paint, and the Spartans are a formidable defense from two-point range. Michigan State's defense is 49th in two-point percentage allowed (47.1%) and 52nd in effective field-goal percentage allowed (48.0%).

While Mississippi State excels at getting to the charity stripe, Smith is shooting only 58.2% from the free-throw line. With Michigan State excelling at protecting the paint, I'm leaning toward the under on Smith's total points in Thursday's showdown.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.