Iowa vs. Nebraska Odds & Picks: Thursday College Basketball Betting Guide (Dec. 29)
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Fran McCaffery (Iowa)
- Iowa is coming off of an ugly loss to Eastern Illinois, and the Hawkeyes will now travel to Nebraska in Big Ten play.
- The Hawkeyes play fast offensively and aren't strong on the inside defensively.
- Will that impact the total? D.J. James breaks it all down below.
Iowa vs. Nebraska Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Lincoln, Nebraska for a Big Ten duel after suffering a brutal loss to Eastern Illinois.
The Hawkeyes were without both Connor McCaffery and Kris Murray in that game, but Fran McCaffery expects both to be available on Thursday for a triumphant comeback.
Fran McCaffery expects both Kris Murray (foot) and Connor McCaffery (left hand) to play Thursday at Nebraska.
— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) December 28, 2022
The Nebraska Cornhuskers aren’t up with the big dogs in the Big Ten, but they can play a tough game at home. They forced overtime against Purdue, the now No. 1 team in the country. They also beat their in-state rivals Creighton, so they’re not a walkover on their home court.
That said, it may be tough to predict how Murray and McCaffery will perform.
Even though the Cornhuskers are 11-2 on unders this season, Iowa plays at such a fast pace that this game is primed for an over and plenty of points.
The Hawkeyes rank 38th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom. They do so by pushing the pace on offense, ranking eighth in the country by using up only 15.1 seconds per possession.
They do not turn the ball over, either, ranking eighth in that, as well. They can manufacture points quickly and early without mistakes.
Much of the Hawkeyes’ productions has come from the free-throw line and on 2-pointers. Nebraska does not foul too much (19.9% defensively) though, so Iowa will need another way to score.
Even though Nebraska ranks 60th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, this is definitely inflated because opponents are shooting only 61.9% against it. This is pure luck, so Iowa will exploit the other areas of concern the Cornhuskers have.
For example, Nebraska is allowing opponents to shoot around 49% on shots inside the arc and around 33% on shots outside. These are not the flashiest numbers.
Murray, Patrick McCaffery and Connor McCaffery can all hit the deep ball, so getting two of the three back should propel the Hawkeyes to some outside production.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Nebraska is not too lengthy defensively. Blaise Keita is questionable — along with Denim Dawson — so if even one is out, the Huskers will be short-handed.
Iowa is extremely efficient on the inside, shooting 54.4% as a unit. Patrick McCaffery and Filip Rebraca are also both 6-foot-9, so they both should have some opportunities to score.
Derrick Walker is the same height, but those two should have an edge on whomever is guarding them — aside from Walker.
Offensively, the Cornhuskers will have chances inside the paint. Iowa is not a strong defensive team, ranking 102nd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. The Hawkeyes have limited opponents to around 30% from deep, but are allowing teams to shoot over 50% on 2-pointers.
Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, the Cornhuskers’ offense operates mainly from 2-point range. Nebraska is shooting nearly 54% inside the arc. Keisei Tominaga is the Huskers’ only two deep threat (39.7%), but he, Walker, Sam Griesel and Juwan Gary are all shooting over 50% on 2-pointers.
Look for Nebraska to run a little more quickly offensively to get these open looks. Once that happens, it can run up its portion of the offensive production in this game.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Iowa vs. Nebraska Betting Pick
Nebraska is a slower-paced team than it has been in the past, but it will be able to score at ease inside.
Iowa has a tendency to be a little soft on defense, and is a strong offensive threat inside. The Hawkeyes will score consistently with their size advantage inside, and should knock down some outside shots with Murray and the McCaffrey’s.
Take the over in this game from 149 (-110), and play it to 151.5 (-110).