Mississippi

NIT Championship: Memphis vs. Mississippi State odds, picks and prediction

The No. 1 seed Memphis Tigers (19-8) take on the No. 4 seed Mississippi State Bulldogs (18-14) Sunday in the NIT Championship Game at Comerica Center in Frisco, Texas. Tip-off is scheduled for noon ET on ESPN. Below, we analyze the Memphis-Mississippi State odds and lines, with March Madness NCAA Tournament picks and predictions.

The Tigers had their NCAA Tournament bubble burst in the AAC Tournament, losing a narrow 76-74 game to Houston in the second round. While they covered the spread, and played the second-seeded Cougars tough, it wasn’t good enough to wow the committee.

Instead of pouting, the Tigers came together and rattled off impressive wins against Dayton, Boise State and Colorado State in the NIT, including a 23-point rout of the Rams in the national semifinals. Seasoned bettors know all about the Tigers, as they’re 4-1 against the spread in the postseason, 8-1 ATS across their past nine games, and 14-2 ATS in their previous 16 contests.

Mississippi State has taken the circuitous route to the NIT title game. There have been times this season it looked like world beaters, and other times it looked like a very bad club. The good version of the team showed up in the NIT semis in an 84-62 rout of Louisiana Tech.

The Bulldogs were no match for 2-seed Alabama in the SEC Tournament game, getting blasted 85-48. The NIT took them in, and the Bulldogs have rattled off three straight wins over St. Louis, Richmond and Louisiana Tech in a Bulldog-on-Bulldog matchup. They haven’t been cover kings like Memphis, but Mississippi State is a respectable 7-3 ATS across its past 10 games.

Memphis vs. Mississippi State: Odds, spread and lines

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 10:05 a.m. ET.

  • Money line: Memphis -200 (bet $200 to win $100) | Mississippi State +165 (bet $100 to win $165)
  • Against the spread/ATS: Memphis -4.5 (-110) | Mississippi State +4.5 (-110)
  • Over/Under: 135 (O: -110 | U: -110)

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Memphis vs. Mississippi State: Odds, lines, predictions and picks

Prediction

Memphis 70, Mississippi State 63

Money line (ML)

MEMPHIS (-200) is right at my personal money line limit. I don’t love the Tigers on the ML, but they’re not a bad play if you just want a little action on the NIT title game and don’t want to sweat out the points.

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Against the spread (ATS)

MEMPHIS -4.5 (-110) has been on fire both straight up and against the number, and has made plenty of wise guys a solid pile of cheddar over the past couple of months.

It doesn’t matter what games you’re betting at this juncture, or even if it is not an NCAA Tournament game. Dollars bet on winners in the NIT or CBI cash just the same as those in the Big Dance. Had the Tigers made the field of 68, they likely could have made some noise, too.

Memphis isn’t much to speak about at the offensive end, but it has a shut down defense, and defenses wins championships. The Tigers rank 19th in the nation with 62.3 points per game allowed, fourth with a 38.4% defensive field-goal percentage and second against the three ball at 26.8%.

Over/Under (O/U)

UNDER 135 (-110) is the lean here, and that’s not just because of Memphis and its defense.

Mississippi State plays a good brand of defense, too, and allowed 65.7 PPG this season. It held the opposition to just 39.9% from the field to rank 20th overall.

The Under is 9-5 in the past 14 games for MSU and 13-5-1 in the previous 19 for Memphis.

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