College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Northwestern vs. Michigan (Jan. 26)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Hunter Dickinson.
- Northwestern is a big underdog on Wednesday night in Ann Arbor.
- The Wolverines have a big advantage in the paint, which is powered by Hunter Dickinson.
- DJ James breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.
Northwestern vs. Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Northwestern Wildcats are one of the unluckiest teams in college basketball and will have to overcome that in Ann Arbor against a Michigan Wolverines team looking to right the ship.
Michigan has won its last two conference matchups by an average margin of 18.5 points over both Maryland and Indiana. Northwestern, meanwhile, dropped its last two games against Wisconsin and Purdue, so this is a tall task for the Wildcats.
Northwestern has played tightly in every loss this season, except Purdue in its last contest. The Boilermakers’ height simply was too much.
Michigan will likely present a similar problem for the Wildcats. Only Peter Nance averages more than six rebounds per game among Northwestern’s big men, while Michigan has both Moussa Diabate and Hunter Dickinson. Michigan can rebound on both sides of the ball — 31.9% offensively and 24.7% defensively.
Northwestern relies relatively heavily on the 3-point shot to stay in games, mainly because of its shortcomings (outside of Nance) down low. This season, 32.2% of the Wildcats’ points have come from beyond the arc. Boo Buie, Ty Berry, and Pete Nance are the usual suspects, all averaging over 35% from deep.
Unfortunately, Northwestern will face the 28th-ranked Wolverines perimeter defense, which holds opponents to 29.2% shooting from downtown. Since Northwestern shoots below 50% inside the arc, it will struggle to manufacture scoring opportunities.
The Wildcats’ saving grace is taking care of the ball. They only turn the ball over on 13.0% of possessions, and Michigan only turns over opponents 15.1% of the time. However, unless Northwestern finds a way to tilt the rebounding advantage in its direction, this should not skew the results too much.
Michigan, as noted above, has two go-to options down low, and it loves to use them.
Unlike Northwestern, the Wolverines have only scored 27.6% of their points outside the arc this season. On the contrary, 57.3% of points have come from 2-point range. This is Michigan’s bread and butter, and it won’t stray from it, especially with the size advantage it has over Northwestern. Look for Diabate to get more than his season average of 22 minutes in this one.
Northwestern’s Chase Audige and Julian Roper (off the bench) will guard Michigan’s guards. Both average more than one steal per game and could force plenty of turnovers against a Wolverines team that commits them often. DeVante’ Jones, Caleb Houstan and Eli Brooks all have the propensity to cough up the ball on occasion.
Finally, Michigan does not foul very often. The Wolverines do not make it to the line much themselves, but they will stay disciplined in this regard. Northwestern ranks 322nd in FTA/FGA (free throw attempts to field goal attempts), so this should not be much of an issue for the Wolverines, particularly with the home-court advantage.
Northwestern vs. Michigan Betting Pick
Look for the Wolverines to continue their two-game win streak in this one.
Michigan could even route the Northwestern attack, since it has too much talent down low. When Nance is no longer in the game, the Wildcats may be sunk. If Michigan can hit just a few 3-pointers, it can easily close out this game.
Dickinson and Diabate present mismatches, so take Michigan at -8 (-110), and play to -9 (-110). There is a little bit of value here on the Wolverines.