Michigan vs Northwestern Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Big Ten Affair

Michigan vs Northwestern Odds, Picks: How to Bet This Big Ten Affair article feature image

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Dug McDaniel (Michigan)

Michigan vs Northwestern Odds

Thursday, Feb. 2
7 p.m. ET
Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
Northwestern Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Northwestern Wildcats dropped a crucial game at Iowa on Tuesday and are looking to rebound at home against the Michigan Wolverines on Thursday.

Due to their COVID-19 pause, the Wildcats have a jam-packed schedule with five games in 10 days.

Meanwhile, Michigan is coming off of two straight losses, including a tough one by 22 at Penn State.

Typically, this would be a prime bounce-back position, but NU just lost, as well.

Northwestern gets about as much as it can out of this group. The Wildcats have an underwhelming offensive attack with a great defense.

Michigan is a bit rough defensively, but does have strengths to help weaken the already inefficient Northwestern offense.

This game should be a classic Big Ten battle, and the under should be in play.

Michigan Wolverines

Michigan is 5-5 in a very clustered middle of the pack in the Big Ten.

The Wolverines kept it tight against Purdue, as they lost by only five at home. This was mostly due to the matchup between Hunter Dickinson and Zach Edey, the two best players on the floor in that game.

This game against Northwestern will be a different style of play.

Northwestern ranks 76th in the nation in 3-point attempt percentage. Michigan ranks 147th in 3-point attempt percentage on defense, but it ranks 64th in Open 3 Rate and 32nd in Rim & 3 Rate, per ShotQuality.

These are two metrics where Northwestern struggles immensely. The Wildcats rank 354th in Open 3 Rate and 179th on Rim & 3 Rate. They take far too many contested 3s.

In addition, they rank 356th in off-the-dribble 3-pointer points per possession (PPP) and 291st in catch-and-shoot 3-point PPP.

These are not necessarily areas of strength for the Wolverines’ defense, but there is a reason the NU offense ranks 84th in adjusted efficiency, per KenPom.

Photo by CBB Analytics

The Wolverines also do play reasonable defense on the perimeter. Opponents are shooting around 32% against them and under 50% on 2s.

Northwestern shoots 32.4% from deep and 46.5% from the interior, so Michigan should be able to put a stop to most field goals.

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Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern does excel in one area: getting to the free-throw line. And the Wildcats shoot well as a unit from the strike (75.4%). They have manufactured 20.4% of their points this season from the free-throw line.

Boo Buie, Chase Audige, Robbie Beran and Matthew Nicholson all have at least 55 free-throw attempts, so those four can usually rack up the fouls for opponents.

We could watch this Robbie Beran dunk all day long. 🤩@rob_beran x @NUMensBballpic.twitter.com/QP8jerwdQR

— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) January 5, 2023

That said, Michigan ranks 47th in free-throw attempt percentage on defense. 53.8% of points against the Michigan defense have come from inside the arc and only 15.3% have come from the line.

Northwestern should not get many visits to the line in this one.

Northwestern has emphasized defense this season, and it works with this group. It ranks 30th in defensive turnover rate (22.4%) and 17th on offense (15.3%).

Michigan, though, only turns the ball over 14.1% of the time offensively, so this game should be played mostly in the half-court.

Northwestern averages 18.2 seconds per possession offensively and ranks 236th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom. It should slow down the pace in this game to its liking at home.

Michigan vs. Northwestern Betting Pick

Neither of these teams are particularly strong on the offensive glass, so each should only have one opportunity to make a bucket each trip down the court.

Northwestern’s defense is the star of the show, and Michigan can defend where NU has strengths.

All of these reasons signal an under in a classic Big Ten low-scoring affair. It should not be too sloppy, but defense will reign supreme.

Take the under from 139.5 (-110), and play it to 138 (-110).

Pick: Under 139 (Play to 138)

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