College basketball odds, picks and predictions for Michigan vs. Arizona State (Thursday, November 17)

Michigan vs. Arizona State odds

In my opinion, Feast Week means important neutral site events between NCAA Tournament hopefuls (and day hoops, of course).

Given this premise, Feast Week kicked off last night at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn.

Michigan Breaking into the hapless Pitt defense, the Panthers torched for 1.36 points per possession. What was once a 17-14 deficit has gradually become a 30-point laughter.

After the Wolverines win, they sit and wait to see what familiar face(s) they’ll see. Both Arizona (Frankie Collins) and VCU (Zeb Jackson, Brandon Jones Jr.) are former Michigan men. Potential revenge games lurked.

Sun demons prevailed in the battle of teams that lost their stars. This means Collins will certainly be eager to stick with his old teammates. Of course, Michigan will be eager to prove he shouldn’t have left.


Hunter Dickinson is the catalyst here. A truly gigantic human being, Dickinson’s clever job movements and soft touch made him a burden to handle with paint. He carves a position on the block and then uses his broad shoulders to make room for quick finishes.

Most teams have to field double teams, but that quickly turns into a “pick your poison” dilemma. His death has become a legitimate weapon — he had five assists and no turnovers last night — and the Wolverines have several killer shooters around the perimeter.

Wings Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard (son of coach Juwan) have evolved into real offensive weapons. Bufkin is developing as a creator, while Howard simply knows how to score.

Their continued development bodes well for a Michigan offense that looked uncertain outside of Dickinson in the preseason.

At this early point in the season, the Wolverines’ biggest weakness was their perimeter defense. They often play small guards (Jaylen Llewellyn, Doug McDaniel), and Dickinson can be a handicap in catch coverage.

Eastern Michigan’s Emoni Bates and Noah Farrakhan have carved them out of the rebound, and Arizona has plenty of capable dodge drivers—Collins included.

The Sun Devils rocked last night, overturning an 11-point deficit with nine minutes remaining in a narrow victory.

Their defense held VCU to just seven points during that nine-minute comeback.

ASU took advantage as VCU star guard Ace Baldwin scratched a late upset before tipping.

Of course, the Sun Devils do have injury concerns.

Most notably, key winger/forward Marcus Bagley did not travel with the squad due to a thigh injury. He has been in and out of the lineup frequently in his stint. Arizona always looks better when he plays, even though he presents a real size shot-making threat.

Without it, ASU plays much smaller. Two 6-foot-1 dynamos, Collins and DJ Horn, rush around the perimeter and try to get into the gaps. The Cambridge brothers — 6-foot-4 Desmond and 6-foot-6 Devan — lurk as secondary threats.

Indoors, ASU has multiple bodies to throw at Dickinson, with Warren Washington first. He fouled in just 22 minutes against a much smaller VCU front court.

Alonzo Gaffney, Duke Brennan and Enoch Boakye are all likely to get opportunities to slow down Michigan’s prolific big man as well.


Michigan vs. Arizona betting selection

The sum is likely to be a tug of war between efficiency and speed. Both teams have clear avenues to points.

For Arizona, it’s through repeated catches and tackles with Collins and Horn while forcing Dickinson’s defense into space.

For Michigan, it’s Dickinson’s skill on the block and playing against a rotating defense when the Sun Devils send in the help.

However, the tempo can go down on this one. Neither team’s semifinal game went very quickly (67 possessions for Michigan, 68 for ASU). In addition, this game is clearly a back-to-back game for both teams. This often tilts games downward.

On Bet Labs, in November games where both teams play back-to-back, it’s less than 805-685-17. The lack of comfort – in addition to the high stakes – often entails a slow game.

Instead, the side is a little more attractive. Michigan’s offensive blast last night foreshadowed the potential arc of this game. Arizona’s lack of size in various locations could prove fatal against the Wolverines’ large number of skilled forwards.

Dickinson’s dominance is Thanos-esque inevitability in the paint, and if Michigan’s perimeter players land the shots, let’s say good night.

I also see Michigan as having a huge coaching advantage here. That may be mitigated somewhat by such a quick turnaround, but it also means that ingrained habits—shooting choice and defensive discipline—become paramount.

I trust Wolverines a lot more in those aspects.

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