Wisconsin vs. Nebraska Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Badgers to Win Big? (Thursday, January 27)
G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Davis.
- Fred Hoiberg's Nebraska Cornhuskers take on Greg Gard's Wisconsin Badgers in Thursday afternoon Big Ten action.
- The Huskers are looking for their first conference win of the season and first win in 2022.
- Keg doesn't think they'll pick it up, though, and he explains why below.
Wisconsin vs. Nebraska Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
After a tough loss at home to Michigan State, Wisconsin will hit the road and look to bounce back against Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, are in desperate need of a win, just 1- 11 in their last 12 games. The Huskers are still looking for not only their first conference win of the season, but their first win in 2022.
Nebraska has not won a game since Dec. 22, but it’s 4-2 against the spread since that game. It has also not played a game in 10 days due to a short pause due to COVID-19.
In their last game, the Cornhuskers fell to Indiana, 78-71, but there were some improvements. Nebraska shot 47% from the field against an Indiana defense that came into the game ranked second nationally in FG defense.
Trey McGowens also returned to the lineup finally, which was big for the team. McGowens had missed the last 15 games due to a broken bone in his right foot. In his return, McGowens posted seven points, two steals and two rebounds. I expect his contributions to only increase as the season goes on.
Wisconsin had won seven straight games before its loss to Michigan State. That marked its second winning streak of at least five games this season.
The Badgers also have one of the best players in the country in Johnny Davis, who has led the team to a 6-2 record in conference play.
Historically the Badgers have dominated the Huskers, leading the all-time series, 20-14. Nebraska will also look to snap a big losing streak to Wisconsin, which it hasn’t beaten since the 2018-19 season.
Wisconsin has been a productive offense overall, ranking 29th in adjusted efficiency, per KenPom. However, it’s averaging only 72.7 points per game and has struggled to shoot the ball. It’s posted an effective field goal percentage of just 48.5%, which ranks 232nd nationally.
However, the Badgers are one of the better teams when it comes to second-chance points. They rank 74th in Division I at turning offensive rebounds into points.
The biggest key to the Badgers offense has been Davis, one of the best players in the country. Davis is averaging 22.3 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and also leads Wisconsin in assists and steals.
Brad Davison and Tyler Wahl have been incredibly important to Wisconsin’s offense as well. Davison is averaging 15.4 points per game, while Wahl contributes 11 per contest. Importantly, Wahl is projected to be back for the game against the Cornhuskers after missing the Michigan State game.
On defense, the Badgers are limiting teams to just 66.9 points per game. And while they haven’t been particularly great on the defensive end, they are limiting opposing teams to an effective field goal percentage of 49.5%, which is considerably better than Nebraska.
Wisconsin also has a decent height advantage over the Cornhuskers, which should help when it comes to rebounding — an area in which Nebraska struggles.
January has been a tough month for Nebraska, as its matchup with Wisconsin will be its fifth game against a ranked opponent this month. That will tie a school record that’s been met four other times.
And even though its record may not reflect it, Nebraska has some of the best players in the Big Ten. One of those is Derrick Walker, who is one of just four players in the country shooting over 70% from the floor and the free-throw line.
The Huskers also have McGowens, who puts up 15.7 points per game. The Pendleton, South Carolina, native leads the team in 20-point scoring efforts, logging five so far this season.
Most of Nebraska’s losses have been due in large part to its defense, allowing opposing teams to rack up 79.1 points per game and ranking 338th nationally. But Wisconsin isn’t an offensive powerhouse — as long as it doesn’t get hot from 3-point range.
There is one area that the Cornhuskers have the ability to even the playing field. Nebraska leads the Big Ten in turnovers, forcing 15.3 per game. Wisconsin ranks second nationally in turnover percentage on offense, but if Nebraska can create issues on defense, it can disrupt the Badgers severely.
Wisconsin vs. Nebraska Betting Pick
Nebraska will improve as the season progresses, and it will at some point secure its first Big Ten win and first win of 2022. But I don’t think it will be Thursday night.
The Cornhuskers may force turnovers to some extent, but not enough to greatly affect this Badgers team. And while the return of McGowens will improve the team overall, it’s still just his second game back.
For that reason, I’m backing Wisconsin as a 7.5-point favorite, and I would take it as high as 9.5.
I also think both of these teams have a decent enough defense and that the total is too high. I will be placing a small wager on under at 147 as well and would bet it as low as 145.5.