Michigan vs. Buffalo Basketball Betting Odds, Prediction, Preview: Line Moves Heavily in Bulls’ Favor
Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Dickinson.
- Updated Buffalo vs. Michigan odds list the Wolverines as a -12.5 or -13 favorite, depending on the sportsbook. They opened much higher at -16 at some books, dropped to -12.5, and went back to -13 at DraftKings Sportsbook.
- The total has also risen three points from 150.5 to 153.5 at DraftKings, as the market anticipates Buffalo to build on its excellent offensive season behind two elite scorers.
- Get Tanner McGrath's full breakdown of Michigan vs. Buffalo below.
Buffalo vs. Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Both Buffalo and Michigan are the betting preseason favorites to win their respective conferences, and both should be very optimistic for the upcoming season.
The Bulls return four starters and are clearly the best team in the MAC, on both sides of the floor. Michigan lost a few important players from last year’s roster, but it brought in a star transfer at point guard and the nation’s No. 2 recruiting class.
But predictably, the Wolverines are laying 15.5 points in this non-conference matchup. Buffalo is the top team in the MAC and KenPom’s 94th-best preseason team, but Michigan is ranked in the top 10 and isKenPom’s second-best team.
However, Buffalo can absolutely stay within this number.
There are just two players from last year’s All-MAC first and second teams returning for the upcoming season. Both play for Buffalo.
Josh Mballa and Jeenathan Williams combined for over 22 points per game last season, and they’re joined by other returning starters Ronaldo Segu and LaQuill Hardnett.
— UB Men's Basketball (@UBmenshoops) November 3, 2021
So, if you’re doing the math, that means four of the five Buffalo starters are returning — the season after the Bulls reached the MAC Tournament Championship game no less.
The Bulls have versatility out the wazoo. But as Stuckey put it in his MAC preview, Buffalo is characterized by four primary traits:
- Dominate the glass
- Get out in transition
- Attack the rim
- Relentless defensive length
Last season, the Bulls ranked among the top-25 Division I teams in defensive effective FG%, defensive 3P% and offensive rebounding rate. They are also running at the 16th-highest tempo.
The Bulls have all the pieces to repeat that success, and extra. The Bulls were able to bring in two Atlantic-10 transfers in George Washington’s Maceo Jack and Fordham’s Ty Perry.
Buffalo is easily the best team in the MAC.
The Wolverines should win the Big Ten again this season, but their ceiling relies on the transition of Coastal Carolina transfer DeVante’ Jones.
Last season, Mike Smith transferred from Columbia and was asked to transition from a high-volume scorer to a ball-screen facilitator. He excelled.
Can Jones do the same? He has the statistical profile to do so, having led the Sun Belt in assists his sophomore year (5.7 per game) while ranking in the top 40 nationally in assist rate (33.4).
MID-MAJOR MONDAY 6’1 Sophomore G Devante Jones out of Coastal Carolina does it all. The New Orleans native averaged 17 PPG 6 RPG and 6 APG while also being named to the 2nd team All-Sun Belt this past season. NBA scouts take notice!! Full tape on the FV YouTube @DevanteJones_ pic.twitter.com/oSdcbqxS9C
— Frankie Vision (@Frankie_Vision) May 18, 2020
I don’t expect Jones to struggle as a backcourt partner with Eli Brooks, a super senior who knows the Michigan system — and his role in it — better than anyone.
However, the chemistry Jones builds with Hunter Dickinson is far more important. Dickinson changed the trajectory of the Michigan program last season, leading the team in scoring (14.1 per game), rebounding (7.4) and blocks (1.4).
COUNTDOWN TO COLLEGE BASKETBALL:
Michigan center; Hunter Dickinson; 2020-21 stats:
The Big Ten Freshman of the Year ladies and gentlemen!!
A monster in the restricted area — would you guess he's lefty? pic.twitter.com/jfRWgKrs3p
— Sƚαƚ Sϙυιԃ (@statsquid) November 2, 2021
Hypothetically, Dickinson doesn’t “need” Jones since he’s great in post-up situations (1.034 PPP, 86th percentile). However, Smith and Dickinson ran ball-screens and the pick-and-roll together a lot.
If Jones can replicate how Smith played off Dickinson, it gives the Wolverines the most dangerous inside-outside combination in the Big Ten.
Outside of those three, keep an eye on incoming freshman Caleb Houstan. Houstan is Michigan’s highest-rated recruit since Glenn Robinson III in 2012 and a projected 2022 lottery pick. He has a varied offensive arsenal, can score from all three levels, and does it with efficiency.
What? You say you wanted some 🎥 highlights from Caleb Houstan's 25 points in the win vs. Spain?
We can do that …
— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) July 9, 2021
Houstan and Brandon Johns Jr. will have to somewhat re-create the two-way wing play of Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers.
But Juwan Howard has the task of replacing two starters, a sixth man, and a five-year backup center. Last year’s Wolverines finished in the top 10 in both KenPom offensive and defensive efficiency, and the defending AP National Coach of the Year seems pretty confident they can do it again.
Buffalo vs. Michigan Betting Pick
This line actually opened at Buffalo +18.5 but sharp money quickly pushed it down. Additionally, the under opened at 152.5 but has been steamed down as well.
I’m backing the smart money on both the side and the total.
On opening night, MAC teams looked pretty good against the Big Ten. Akron gave Ohio State a scare and Eastern Michigan dominated Indiana in the second half.
Buffalo is very experienced, while Michigan has an influx of bodies that Howard still needs to mesh. It’s not crazy to think Buffalo could give the MAC another strong showing.
Moreover, 150 feels a tad high in this spot. These are two defensive-minded teams, as Michigan went 17-11 to the under last season while Buffalo went 13-11. Plus, Michigan lost a significant portion of its scoring from last year.
I’ll take the under and the underdog in this season opener.