Saturday's best ATS bets
Picking winners for Saturday's big games, including Michigan-Michigan State
Each week during the college basketball season, I will offer my picks and predicted final scores for the biggest games on Saturday as well as some mid-major matchups. This way, when the lines are released on Friday evening, you'll have at least one Vegas pro's opinion as to what the final scores might look like.
Here's a look at six key matchups on Saturday, including Michigan-Michigan State, Duke-Florida State, BYU-Gonzaga, Florida-Tennessee, VCU-La Salle and Pitt-Maryland.
When Mitch McGary got hurt, the betting markets concluded rather quickly that the Wolverines couldn't possibly withstand his absence. However, the results have clearly proved otherwise. Since McGary's injury, the Wolverines are 8-0 straight up (SU) and 6-1-1 against the spread (ATS), dramatically exceeding market expectations. John Beilein's squad has relied heavily on Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III and Caris LeVert to make up for McGary's lost offensive production, and that trio has lived up to the challenge.
The Wolverines have been road underdogs twice in Big Ten play thus far. Both times, they won the game in SU fashion, knocking off Wisconsin in Madison and Minnesota in Minneapolis. Michigan State, on the other hand, has struggled a bit of late in the home favorite's role, failing to cover against both Indiana and Ohio State. Only a lucky spread cover in overtime as 9.5-point favorites against Minnesota has prevented Tom Izzo's squad from notching an 0-3 ATS start as home favorites in Big Ten play.
To read all of Teddy Covers' against-the-spread picks for Saturday's biggest games, you must be an ESPN Insider.
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John Gasaway says despite the flaws some observers see in Arizona, the Wildcats have a similar profile to mighty Kentucky.