Michigan Basketball Among NCAA Favorites; MSU Rebuilding

By Christopher Boan @cgboan

The NCAA men’s basketball season tips off Tuesday, with Michigan expected to contend for a national title.

Over in East Lansing, Tom Izzo and Michigan State are a bit under the radar, among the others receiving votes portion of the preseason poll and in the middle of the pack in Michigan online sports betting Big Ten Conference title odds.

Third-year Wolverines coach Juwan Howard begins 2024 with outsized championship aspirations, as his team is ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25.

Both teams begin their 2024-22 seasons this week. Michigan State hosts third-ranked Kansas on ESPN at 7 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday, while Michigan hosts Buffalo on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. local time.

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Final Four or Bust for Michigan in 2022

Howard’s team is locked and loaded, a year after the Wolverines went 23-5 and advanced to the program’s first Elite Eight in three years.

The former NBA All-Star took home a litany of awards for his role in the team’s success a year ago, including the AP, Sporting News and Big Ten’s Coach of the Year accolades, in addition to the Henry Iba Award.

Michigan should be back alongside the best in the nation in 2024-22, with a handful of Michigan gaming operators listing the Wolverines among preseason favorites to win the NCAA Championship and 2022 Big Ten Conference title.

The Wolverines currently are +1200 to win the national championship on BetMGM Michigan, Caesars Sportsbook Michigan, DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan, and FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan — putting them either in sole possession or tied for the second-best odds of any team in the nation.

The Wolverines' best odds come from TwinSpires Sportsbook Michigan, which list them at +900 to win it all.

As far as Big Ten title odds, Michigan ranks first or second on all five sportsbooks, with TwinSpires Sportsbook Michigan (+230) listing them first overall. FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan (+270), Caesars Sportsbook Michigan (+300) and DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan (+330) have the Wolverines second in the conference title race.

A major reason for the preseason hype in Ann Arbor revolves around the return of sophomore big man, Hunter Dickinson, who averaged 14.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a true freshman in 2023-21.

Dickinson and incoming five-star recruit, Moussa Diabate will man the frontcourt for Howard’s squad this season. If both stay healthy, you’d have to expect Michigan will have a solid shot at ending the Big Ten’s 21-year national title drought.

Michigan State Looks to Rebound in 2024-22

The Big Ten’s last national title team is looking to retool and rebound in 2024-22.

The Spartans struggled mightily in 2023-21, finishing the COVID-hampered season 15-13, with a “First Four” exit from the NCAA Tournament.

It was Izzo’s first defeat in the opening weekend of the event since 2016, though the Spartans made their 22nd consecutive trip to the Big Dance.

Fast forward a few months, and Michigan State is looking at long college basketball betting odds of winning either a Big Ten or NCAA championship, ranking in the middle of the pack in both categories.

The Spartans’ best national title odds come from Caesars Sportsbook Michigan, FanDuel Sportsbook Michigan and TwinSpires Michigan, which list Michigan State at +3000 to win it all. TwinSpires and DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan give the Spartans the best odds of winning the Big Ten in 2022 at +900. Both Caesars and FanDuel give MSU +1000 odds of winning a conference crown.

DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan and BetMGM Michigan give the Spartans +3500 odds of winning the 2022 NCAA Championship.

The Spartans will have a better grasp on how legit their chances are by mid-December, after they’ve played the Jayhawks, Louisville, Minnesota and Penn State.

Izzo will likely turn to five-star shooting guard Max Christie, who anchored the Spartans’ 2024 recruiting class.

Christie, who is the second-ranked SG in the class of 2024 according to ESPN, joins four-star recruits Pierre Brooks and Jaden Akins in Michigan State’s latest class.

If all three can coalesce on the court, the Spartans have a shot at contending to be the first Big Ten team to win the championship since Izzo’s bunch won the 2000 NCAA Tournament.

Either way, expect the Great Lakes State to be well represented in the national championship discourse during the duration of the 2024-22 NCAA basketball season.

Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.
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Christopher Boan has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.
... Read More