November 11th is Veteran’s Day in the United States and the NCAA is making another nice mesh of military and sports in the Michigan State vs Gonzaga betting matchup from the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Armed Forces Classic. The #2 ranked Bulldogs are a big -11.5 favorite on Friday night.
Both teams have a win under their belt to start the 2022/23 campaign. MSU beat Northern Arizona 73-55 on Monday but failed to cover the -21 point spread. Gonzaga destroyed North Florida 104-63 even beating the -30 number. One thing the Spartans have going for them is that they’ve won four of their previous five meetings with the Bulldogs.
Not a Great Identity Matchup for Michigan State
You have to give Tom Izzo credit, he’s not dodging competition squaring off against #2 Gonzaga on Friday night. Izzo probably would’ve liked a few more tomato can games to fine-tune his rotation and chemistry as the Spartans try to replace Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham, and Max Christie who were the three leading scorers for last year’s 23-win team.
On paper it just doesn’t look like the Spartans can hang offensively in the Michigan State at Gonzaga betting matchup. Joey Hauser is projected to be MSU’s leading scorer this year, but he had a career low 7 ppg last season. Hauser did have 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds in the season opener on Monday, but Gonzaga led the nation with 88.3 ppg last season.
Hauser has a great chance to get his again on Friday, but will he get much help? Pierre Brooks had 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench on Monday so that’s the type of depth Izzo would like to see more of as no other Michigan State starter reached double figures in the opener.
Gonzaga With an Early Season Resume Builder
Mark Few catches some heat for keeping his perennial powerhouse playing in the WCC, but Gonzaga still faces a lot of non-conference tests. They’ve got Michigan State, then a visit to Texas before playing Kentucky, Baylor, Washington, and Alabama with a stop at the Phil Knight Invitational with a likely matchup with Purdue mixed in there.
The Bulldogs lost two more big pieces to the NBA in the offseason, with Chet Holmgren going with the #2 pick and Andrew Nembhard selected early in the 2nd round. Gonzaga does return a player with NBA potential in Drew Timme, who averaged 17.6 ppg last season. Timme opened with a 22-point effort in the season opener and is the CBS Sports Preseason Player of the Year.
The Bulldogs have some depth as six players scored double figures in the opener. Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton are a couple top 100 players for Gonzaga as well.
Free Michigan State vs Gonzaga Betting Pick
Gonzaga is easily the better team in this spot – but are they nearly a dozen points better this early in the season? There seems to be no reason for Few to blow out Izzo here, especially when a blowout is not entertaining to the service personnel on the air carrier. For that reason you have to think MSU at least covers the number here.
Free Pick: Michigan State +11.5