Minnesota vs. Michigan State Prediction, Odds, Key Players for Thursday, Jan. 18 (Take the Golden Gophers)

Minnesota has been profitable to backers this season. Can the Golden Gophers hang with Michigan State?

Jan 15, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Dawson Garcia (3) shoots against Iowa. He finished with 30 points.
Jan 15, 2024; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Dawson Garcia (3) shoots against Iowa. He finished with 30 points. / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota was once on pace for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2019 and the first in the Ben Johnson era, but the Golden Gophers have hit a road bump in Big 10 play, losing back-to-back games. Minnesota is coming off a nine-point home loss to Iowa, when it allowed a season-high 86 points. Can they hang in as double-digit underdogs in East Lansing on Thursday?

Michigan State, once as high as No. 4 in the AP Top-25 Poll, has dropped to 11th in the Big 10 after losing four of five in conference play. The Spartans did get back on track with a 73-55 takedown of Rutgers on Sunday. Can Tom Izzo’s club round into form? 

Here’s the betting preview for the Big 10 battle. 

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Minnesota vs. Michigan State odds, spread and total

Minnesota vs. Michigan State betting trends

  • Minnesota is 14-3 ATS this season
  • Michigan State is 9-7-1 ATS this season
  • Minnesota is 4-2 ATS as an underdog this season
  • Michigan State is 8-5 ATS as a favorite this season
  • The OVER is 8-9 in Minnesota and Michigan State games this season

Minnesota vs. Michigan State how to watch

  • Date: Thursday, Jan. 18
  • Game time: 6:30 p.m. EST
  • Venue: Jack Breslin Student Events Center
  • How to watch (TV): FS1
  • Minnesota record: 12-5  (3-3 Big 10)
  • Michigan State record: 10-7 (2-4 Big 10)

Minnesota vs. Michigan State key players to watch


Dawson Garcia: The 6-foot-11 junior forward didn’t score more than 14 points in four games since returning from an ankle injury. That was until Monday’s loss to Iowa, when Garcia racked up 30 points and was aggressively attacking the rim, getting to the foul line 15 times. He is seventh in the Big 10 in scoring this season at 17.9 points per game. 

Michigan State

Tre Holloman: The sophomore guard was one of 11 different Spartans to score in the win over Rutgers on a night when leading scorer Tyson Walker was just 4-of-12 shooting. Holloman, who is averaging 5.8 points over 20 minutes per game this season, leads the Spartans in three-point shooting (41.3%) and can make them even more dangerous down the stretch if he stays hot. Michigan State ranks 60th in the nation in 3-point shooting, according to KenPom. 

Minnesota vs. Michigan State prediction and pick

Michigan State’s offense is ranked No. 23 in KenPom, but the Spartans are not in the top-50 in any major metric. Michigan State shoots the ball well, but Minnesota is No. 62 defensively in effective field goal percentage and No. 45 in defending shots inside the arc.

Minnesota has the firepower on paper to keep it close with an offense that has six different players averaging at least 8 points per game. The Golden Gophers also share the wealth, assisting on 67.8% of field goals, which is No. 2 in the country. Thursday will be a tough task against Michigan State’s defense, which ranks No. 23 overall. If Minnesota can take care of the ball (No. 203 in turnover percentage), the Golden Gophers should stay within the number and add to an impressive ATS record this season. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change