Milwaukee vs. Colorado Odds & Picks: Why to Bet the Panthers (Dec. 10)
Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Baldwin Jr.
- Milwaukee takes on Colorado in college hoops action on Friday night.
- The Panthers enter as 14-point underdogs, according to updated odds.
- But Tanner McGrath still sees value on Milwaukee and explains why.
Milwaukee vs. Colorado Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Welcome to Friday’s best under-the-radar game. While many will be watching Loyola Chicago vs. Vanderbilt or DePaul vs. Louisville, I’ll be patiently waiting for Panthers vs. Buffaloes.
Colorado is sitting at 7-3 and staying in the hunt in the Pac-12. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has dropped six of itseight games this season, but coach Patrick Baldwin Sr. has a unique talent in his son, Patrick Baldwin Jr.
So, trust me when I say that the Buffaloes hosting Baldwin & Co. will be must-watch Pac-12 after-dark action.
But which team has the edge in the betting market?
So, the No. 4 overall high school recruit, former McDonald’s All-American and projected future lottery pick decided to stay at home and play for his dad. This development changes the landscape of the Horizon League drastically.
Baldwin is a 6-foot-9, 220-pound, do-it-all wing who is living up to early expectations. Baldwin is dropping over 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds per game so far, doing so while shooting over 40% from deep.
Nah…Patrick Baldwin Jr really did the Steph Curry and turned around and pointed at the opponent's bench before it went in!?! pic.twitter.com/xznyDuacYn
— Aram Cannuscio (@AC__Hoops) December 4, 2021
Baldwin has also immediately stepped in as the team’s highest usage offensive player (29.4% of possessions, 33.9% of shots) and most devastating interior defender (averaging 2.0 blocks + steals per game).
Teammate DeAndre Gholston has also played well in non-conference play. Gholston is averaging 16 points and five rebounds per game while shooting 34% from deep.
However, things haven’t come together for the Panthers yet. Their weaknesses include rebounding (289th in defensive rebounding rate) and forcing turnovers (348th in defensive turnover rate).
But I do believe this team is due for positive regression.
Opponents are shooting 34% from 3 and 77.1% from the FT against Milwaukee, both stats that rank outside the top 250. But ShotQuality’s adjusted shot quality record has the Panthers at 4-4 instead of 2-6, and the Panthers have avoided fouling so far (43rd in opponent FTA/FGA).
So, when the Panthers get into conference play, I’d target them as a potentially undervalued team. Opponents will score less going forward and the team has a superstar leading them.
Colorado is really defined by its youth.
The Buffaloes have some extremely talented underclassmen, specifically Jabari Walker, Keeshawn Barthelemy and Tristan da Silva. All three broke out last season, and now have to shoulder the load with McKinley Wright IV and others departing.
Walker is a Pac-12 stud. The 6-foot-9 wing is leading the team in scoring (14.2 PPG) and rebounding (9.2 RPG) with a 108.2 ORtg. He’s nationally ranked in block rate and is among the top-50 players in free-throw rate and defensive rebounding rate.
Double-double for Jabari Walker vs. Eastern Washington, a strong mid-major program
Walker showed his offensive versatility in the win: attacking closeouts, mismatch posting, finishing through contact. Stat line rarely pops, but he's an effective, winning basketball player pic.twitter.com/bjseL0pRXt
— The Box and One (@TheBoxAndOne_) December 9, 2021
But youth can also be a weakness. The Buffaloes are below average in taking care of the ball (283rd in non-steal turnover rate) and forcing turnovers (216th in defensive turnover rate). Plus, Colorado lacks reliable perimeter scoring (39th percentile in spot-up PPP).
All-in-all, Colorado has been high variance. The Buffaloes should be praised for keeping it within 12 against UCLA, but they should be beating Eastern Washington and Southern Illinois by more than three and four respectively.
Colorado has two major strengths: rebounding and free-throw shooting. The Buffs are top-60 in both offensive and defensive rebounding rate, and they are 13th in FTA/FGA.
This likely has to do with Colorado’s length. Its 78.3″ average height is top-30 nationally.
Milwaukee vs. Colorado Betting Pick
I really do believe the Panthers are due for regression, and I believe that starts here. However, there are other reasons I’m backing Milwaukee and the points.
First: Milwaukee’s defense has been getting shredded on the perimeter. However, the Panthers are 17th nationally in 2-point defense (42.1%) and top-50 in block rate (12.5%).
Colorado scores over 55% of its points from the interior and takes less than 30% of its shots from 3. That gives an edge to Milwaukee.
Second: both these teams play very slow. Colorado and Milwaukee are right around 300th in tempo, which also gives an edge to big underdogs. I’ll happily grab double digits with any team in a game where the total is about 130.
This game opened at MILW +13 but has since moved to +14. I believe more money is going to come in on Colorado, so feel free to bet this once a better number is available.
However, KenPom makes this spread 12, and Bart Torvik makes it 11.5. So this line is playable now, and I’ll bet it if I’m getting 2+ points of edge.
Pick: Milwaukee +14 (Play to +13.5)
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