Nebraska vs Michigan Odds & Prediction: Betting Value on Huskers?
Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Keisei Tominaga (Nebraska)
Nebraska vs Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Usually, playing the Huskers means a break from the normal grit and grind of Big Ten play. Fred Hoiberg hasn’t usually fielded a competitive team.
But this year, Nebraska has more Big Ten wins than Ohio State. You can no longer sleepwalk to a win against Nebraska.
Michigan has been sleepwalking through this entire season, but the Wolverines will be hunting for a third straight win.
That chance comes at home against a team Michigan hasn’t lost to since 2018.
But maybe this is the year.
Read on for the odds and my prediction for Wednesday’s Nebraska vs. Michigan game.
Nebraska is surprisingly defending this season. The Huskers have snuck up to 47th in defensive efficiency, which would only be the second time a Hoiberg-led team finished in the top 50.
The ShotQuality numbers are also promising. The Huskers have been competitive in the half-court and above-average at stopping off-screen, cutting and rim-pressuring action.
What’s extra surprising is Nebraska’s pace. The Huskers have played at the fastest or near-fastest pace in the Big Ten since Hoiberg took over, but are seventh this season, dipping to 247th nationally in tempo.
The changes are based on the Xs and Os, but come more from the Jimmies and Joes. The development of Derrick Walker and the transfer of Sam Griesel has resulted in better interior defense and more post-induced offense.
Basically, the Huskers slowed it down on offense and packed it in on defense. It’s a more consistent brand of basketball than the up-tempo Alonzo Verge Jr.-led teams played.
And you can’t argue with the results. The Huskers have wins over Creighton, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State.
That’s a banner year for Hoiberg, even if the bar has been set so low.
The win over Penn State was very convincing. The Nittany Lions hit 14 3s, but the Lions traded that for 19 2s and 10 free throws.
Meanwhile, Japanese-born Keisei Tominaga put together another nationally-memorable moment, dropping 30 on Penn State on 12-for-18 shooting. His off-ball scoring and shooting range has significantly raised the Huskers’ offensive ceiling.
How long does it take to showcase all of @KeiseiTominaga’s buckets from last night?
1:03, it turns out. 😍 pic.twitter.com/9o2ZwAyiYN
— Nebraska On BTN (@NebraskaOnBTN) February 6, 2023
Tominaga brings a consistent scoring presence to Lincoln alongside the team’s best ORtg (117).
Hunter Dickinson still is one of the best interior threats in college basketball. He’s a dangerous interior scorer with an array of post moves, but his pick-and-pop ability makes him even more dangerous.
Dickinson is such a well-rounded player. He was polished even as a freshman, but his development has been fun.
Well, his development except for one area.
Image Credit: CBB Analytics
For how high his usage is, Dickinson’s assist ratio is far too low. And that seems to be the root of Michigan’s issues.
Dickinson has faced a whopping 105 hard doubles in the post this season, and Michigan has scored .771 PPP on those plays. That’s more often than 99% of college basketball players, but the Wolverines rank below the 40th percentile in efficiency on those opportunities.
That’s not 100% on Dickinson, but it’s clear his post-passing hasn’t developed as planned. For a team that lacks a clear second star, that’s a huge issue.
The rest of the numbers are encouraging. Michigan doesn’t turn the ball over and ranks fourth in the Big Ten in both eFG% and eFG% allowed. The Wolverines are 7-5 in conference play in the Big Ten.
But I’m not sure if you can trust any of those numbers.
What is the Wolverines’ best win? Maybe Maryland at home? Or Pittsburgh in the non-conference?
The Wolverines are 2-8 in Quad 1 opportunities with a Quad 4 loss. They’ve fallen to 68th in the NET, and the bubble seems like a stretch right now.
Michigan is deeply flawed, yet oddly compelling. I believe the post issues can be fixed if Jett Howard cranks up the wing scoring.
Nebraska vs Michigan Betting Pick
It’s a clear letdown spot for both teams, with Michigan riding a two-game win streak and Nebraska coming off that monster win against Penn State.
But, ultimately, I think it’s a bigger letdown spot for Michigan.
Beating your biggest rival is always an emotional win, no matter how pathetic the opponent has been playing (I’m talking about Ohio State if you missed that).
But ShotQuality graded Michigan’s win as an analytical loss, as Ohio State missed some layups and the Wolverines got lucky from mid-range.
Image Credit: ShotQuality
Also, this number is just a tad high. Both ShotQualityBets and KenPom make this spread Michigan -8.
It’s also hard to imagine the Wolverines covering a double-digit spread in a slower-paced, paint-heavy game. We will see a lot of Dickinson vs. Walker, and at least Walker can pass out of the double (1.00 PPP, 75th percentile).
Last season, the Nebraska-Michigan matchup in Ann Arbor finished as a six-point Wolverines win.
I expect another single-digit Michigan victory this season, and I will be betting that accordingly on FanDuel.
Pick: Nebraska +10.5 (Play to +10)
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