Michigan-Minnesota Betting Preview: Can the Golden Gophers Avenge Their Loss in Ann Arbor?

Michigan-Minnesota Betting Preview: Can the Golden Gophers Avenge Their Loss in Ann Arbor? article feature image

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Eric Curry (24), forward Jordan Murphy (3).

Just two ranked teams take the court in Thursday’s college basketball docket, with one of them traveling to Minneapolis, as unranked Minnesota faces No. 7 Michigan.

The Golden Gophers lost a heart-breaker to the Wolverines on Jan. 22 — when Charles Matthews nailed a baseline jumper to avoid overtime and hand his team a two-point win. But Richard Pitino’s crew managed to cover in that one (+12.5).

Minnesota is a projected 10-seed on Bracket Matrix, which combines the top NCAA tournament projections to deliver a team’s average seed. But a win over the Wolverines would propel them to a single-digit seed.

Meanwhile, Michigan needs to string together a winning streak to have any shot at back-dooring its way into a top seed.

Where’s the value in this crucial Big Ten matchup? Let’s break it down.

>> All odds as of Wednesday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and win probabilities on your bets.

Michigan Wolverines at Minnesota Golden Gophers 

  • Spread: Michigan -5
  • Over/Under: 133
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

The Wolverines (14-12 against the spread) have covered in five of their past seven games while the Golden Gophers (13-13 ATS) have done the same in six of their past eight contests.

In their last meeting, Minnesota notched 56.1% of its scoring from inside the arc. Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy — its two leading scorers — combined for 26 points from two-point territory, too.

The Wolverines have yielded the highest two-point scoring rate (59.1%) in the country, and the Golden Gophers have generated the 38th-highest scoring percentage (54.4%) from that area. Expect Murphy (15.0 points per game) and Co. to sustain their success against John Beilein’s interior defense.

Michigan’s frontcourt has displayed its woes vs. the more experienced bigs in the Big Ten, like Murphy and Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ.

Golden Gophers point guard Isaiah Washington (tailbone), who’s delivered a team-high 3.2 assists per game, is likely to return as well.

Believe it or not, the Wolverines’ highest scoring rate (31.9%) has stemmed from the perimeter, averaging the second-most 3-point attempts in league play. Minnesota’s defense has faced the third-most amid its conference slate while allowing the sixth-lowest 3-point clip (32.1%). It’s also let up the third-lowest scoring rate (24.9%) from that area.

The 6-foot-5 Jordan Poole (12.8 ppg), one of Michigan’s lead guards, tends to get shot happy when its offense isn’t clicking. Look for the Golden Gophers’ perimeter defense to slow down the opposition from the get-go and deliver one of their finer performances in a revenge spot.

If you’re interested in the total, the under (137.5) hit in their most recent affair, yet the over is 5-2 in Minnesota’s seven Big Ten home games. I’d lean towards the under with Michigan generating the 45th-lowest Adjusted Tempo (65.2 possessions per 40 minutes) in Division I, as well as the home team accruing the fifth-lowest average possession (18.6 seconds) length in league play.

According to our Bet Labs data, the Golden Gophers are 6-4 (60.0%) ATS as an underdog this season. That trend will continue in a look-ahead spot for the Wolverines — with Michigan State on-deck this Sunday.

THE PICK: Minnesota +5