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Odds & Picks for Northwestern vs. Michigan Basketball: Bet the Wildcats In Big Ten Battle

Odds & Picks for Northwestern vs. Michigan Basketball: Bet the Wildcats In Big Ten Battle article feature image

Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Audige.

  • Two Big Ten surprises will meet in Ann Arbor on Sunday night, with Northwestern going for a big upset over Michigan.
  • In looking for his pick, Tanner McGrath identified a 3-point-shooting trend that favors Northwestern.
  • McGrath explains why he's backing the Wildcats to cover an almost double-digit spread.

Northwestern vs. Michigan Odds

Northwestern Odds +8.5 [BET NOW]
Michigan Odds -8.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +330 / -420 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 144.5 [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday evening and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today.

This Big Ten matchup features two of the biggest surprises in the conference this season.

Northwestern is having a season for the ages. After finishing 8-23 last season, Chris Collins’ Wildcats are 6-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. They’ve beaten Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson is the surprise player in the Big Ten this year. The freshman has been dominant this season, most recently dropping 26 points on 10-of-11 shooting against Maryland.

Juwan Howard’s team is rounding into form and might be the best team in the conference. However, Northwestern is catching a ton of points in this matchup, and it might prove difficult for Michigan to cover such a large spread.

From Downtown

Both of these teams are winning, and more importantly, covering.

Michigan is 8-0 straight up (SU) and 6-2 against the spread (ATS), while Northwestern is 6-2 SU and 5-2 ATS. Both teams are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.

In their last 10 games against each other, Michigan has won seven of them while Northwestern has covered the spread in six of them.

Both these teams feature talented rosters who are playing really well together, specifically on offense. Both teams are top-15 in effective field goal percentage.

Defensively, the two are playing similarly, with Michigan having an edge in the advanced metrics due to their interior defense. The Wolverines’ opponents are shooting just 38.2% from inside the arc this season.

However, the biggest mismatch in this game comes from outside the arc.

Northwestern is shooting the lights out from 3-point range at the moment. The Wildcats attempt 24 3-pointers per game and make 42.4% of them, which ranks sixth in the country. Against Michigan State, they shot No. 4 Sparty out of the gym, making 10 3-balls on 21 attempts while holding MSU to 8-for-31 from behind the arc.

Meanwhile, Michigan doesn’t defend the 3-point shot well at all. The Wolverines boast the worst 3-point defense in the Big Ten, as their opponents make 37% of their 23 attempts per game.

Michigan is unstoppable on the interior, though, both offensively and defensively. However, they struggle on the perimeter.

Only one player on the Wolverines’ roster — senior Isaiah Livers — is shooting better than 40% from 3-point range this season.

Given the way Michigan is playing, I think it will be tough for Northwestern to win this game. However, if they continue to shoot well from distance, I believe the Wildcats will be very competitive.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

The line opened at Northwestern +8 and has since moved to +8.5.

Eight is a lot to cover in this conference. For example, Michigan was seven-point favorites against Penn State.

The Wolverines dominated the Nittany Lions defensively, holding them to just 28.3% shooting from inside the arc. However, Penn State made a few more 3-pointers than Michigan and managed to stay inside that spread.

I believe that 3-point shooting will also prove important in this game.

Per the Sports Insight Database, road underdogs of 3.3 points or more that shoot between 40% and 80% from 3-point range are 336-268-9 ATS since 2007. If you had placed $100 on each of these teams ATS, you would be up over $5,000.

Since Northwestern has been hot from outside the arc and Michigan has been struggling with perimeter defense, I believe this is a perfect spot to take Northwestern +8.5.

Pick: Northwestern +8.5.

[Bet Northwestern now at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

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