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Michigan State Spartans at Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Preview

Tuesday is another busy night in the Big Ten, including the no. 19 Michigan State Spartans visiting the Penn State Nittany Lions. These teams met much earlier, with Michigan State winning at home 80-64. On the road, the Spartans are listed as three-point favorites on Tuesday, with the over/under set at 129.5 points.

It’s surely been a disappointing season for the Nittany Lions, who have now lost six of their last seven games. To be fair, Penn State’s last three losses have come by a total of nine points. However, the Nittany Lions are just 4-9 in conference play and 9-12 overall, so their season will soon come to an unceremonious end.

Michigan State, on the other hand, is very much in contention for the Big Ten regular-season championship. The Spartans enter Tuesday’s game just 1.5 games out of first place at 9-4 in conference play and 18-6 overall. Of course, they’ve also lost two of their last three games, so they need to take care of business against one of the weaker teams in the Big Ten.

Big Man Party

The Spartans have primarily been a frontcourt-driven team this season. Even with swingman and leading scorer Gabe Brown falling into a deep slump, Malik Hall has become MSU’s most important player, scoring at least 15 points in three of his last five games. Seven-footer Marcus Bingham is also playing a huge role at both ends, scoring at least 10 points in three of his last four games, while Joey Hauser remains a constant X-factor for MSU.

On the bright side, point guards Tyson Walker and A.J. Hoggard both had a big game over the weekend against Indiana, combining for 29 points while Hoggard dished out eight assists. With freshman Max Christie also in a slump and backcourt depth an issue, the Spartans need Walker and Hoggard to step up. However, neither is averaging more than seven points per game on the season, so it might be hard to expect similar results going forward.

Heart of a Lion

While Penn State hasn’t had a standout season, the Nittany Lions do have a balanced attack. In the backcourt, Jalen Pickett and Sam Sessoms average 12.8 and 11.8 points per game, respectively. Both are excellent playmakers, while PSU is starting to get a little more out of Myles Dread to give them quality depth in the backcourt.

Meanwhile, swingman Seth Lundy is the team’s leading scorer at 12.9 points per game and their best perimeter shooter. The Nittany Lions also have a strong post presence from John Harrar, who averages 10.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game despite some subpar performances in Penn State’s toughest games this season. Greg Lee has also provided a spark during the second half of the season after missing time, as he’s averaging 7.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game in 10 games.

Sparty Party

While the Nittany Lions have stayed competitive with quality teams lately, it’s tough to keep playing close games with nothing to show for it. The Spartans are also a little better at most positions, especially with Hoggard and Walker can build off their last performance. Bet on Michigan State to create enough separation to cover the three-point spread on the road.

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