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August 21, 2014

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Vegas Play of the Day: Michigan vs. Michigan State

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Associated Press

Michigan head coach John Beilein cuts down the net after a regional final game against Florida in the NCAA college basketball tournament Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. Michigan won 79-59 to advance to the Final Four.

Well, yesterday’s pick produced quite possibly the worst beat in the history of the Play of the Day series.

I’ll spare you the details and just get straight to trying to climb back up to the starting bankroll of $10,000 using the South Point odds.

Michigan plus-3.5 vs. Michigan State: $330 to win $300

This is about betting the number, not the teams. I would have picked Michigan State to beat Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship game before looking at today’s betting lines and analyzing the matchups.

I’m probably still picking the Spartans if forced to label a winner, but I can’t pass on a spread that simply looks wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if the line adjusted a couple points in Michigan’s direction before tipoff, meaning plus-3.5 is pure value.

There’s a perception that Michigan State is playing better, which is hard to argue against with the return of Branden Dawson and a four-game covering streak. But Michigan is on a seven-game win streak of its own that started with a 79-70 victory over its in-state rival.

The Wolverines have beaten the Spartans in both meetings this year by a combined 14 points. Michigan’s clear offensive advantage is worth more than Michigan State’s clear defensive advantage.

Nik Stauskas specifically hurt the Spartans this season with 44 points on 16-for-25 shooting in two meets. But the great thing about the Wolverines is it could just as easily be Glenn Robinson III, Caris LeVert or Derrick Walton if Stauskas is off.

Signing off the season with an underdog in the last non-NCAA Tournament game of the year is the way to go.

Standings: Bern (14-10, $10,440), Keefer (11-11, $9,227), Brewer (7-12-3, $6,390)

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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