Minnesota vs. Michigan Odds & Pick: Bet the Visitors in Big Ten Battle
Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Gabe Kalscheur.
- The undefeated and 10th-ranked Michigan Wolverines welcome a surprising 10-2 Minnesota team to the Crisler Center on Wednesday.
- Michigan is favored by 6.5 points in this game, but Mike Randle sees plenty of betting value on the visiting Golden Gophers.
- Check out Randle's preview of this game and his betting pick below.
Minnesota vs. Michigan Odds
The No. 10 Michigan Wolverines are a perfect 9-0 to start the season, including a perfect 4-0 in Big Ten play. They welcome in a surprising 10-2 Minnesota team that was picked to finish 11th in the preseason poll.
Minnesota head coach Richard Pitino is only 2-7 in nine regular-season meetings against Michigan, but are the Golden Gophers actually a live underdog against the undefeated Wolverines?
Michigan is winning with a balance of offensive and defensive efficiency. They rank seventh overall in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom, with superior numbers across the board.
The Wolverines are shooting 36.2% from 3-point range, 77.6% from the free-throw line and a blistering 61.7% from inside the arc. Michigan’s 3-point shooting was especially impressive in its 85-66 home win over Northwestern, as the Wolverines hit 12 of 27 3-pointers.
The key to the Wolverine offense revolves around freshman Hunter Dickinson. The 7-foot-1 freshman averages 16.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. He has taken the second-most field goal attempts (85) on the team, yet is scoring at a 71.8% rate.
He is complemented by seniors Isaiah Livers (13.9 PPG), Eli Brooks (9.9 PPG), Chaundee Brown (9.7 PPG) and Columbia transfer Mike Smith (8.7 ppg), all of whom shoot over 38% from 3.
They have also seen a huge increase in recent production from sophomore Franz Wagner, who produced a stat line of 14 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, five blocks and two steals against Northwestern.
The top priority for the Golden Gophers will be to limit Dickinson, which puts a spotlight on Minnesota center Liam Robbins. The 7-foot junior is the first player Dickinson can face that will match his size inside.
Robbins is coming off his best game of the season with 27 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and five blocks in a 77-60 blowout of Ohio State. He has craftily avoided foul trouble as well, playing over 30 minutes in three of the past four games.
The Wolverines also have to limit the explosive scoring of junior guard Marcus Carr, who has tallied 28 or more points four times this season. The preseason All-Big Ten selection is averaging 22.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 5.9 assists, while shooting 38.4% (28-of-73) from beyond the arc.
The Gophers are hoping the recent upswing of junior Gabe Kalscheur continues. He has averaged 14 points, six rebounds and three made 3s in each of the past two games. There will be opportunities for Kalscheur, Carr and junior Both Gach (36% 3-point) to attack a Wolverines defense that is allowing over 36% from deep.
The biggest weakness for Minnesota is on the boards, where it ranks just 274th in defensive rebounding percentage, per KenPom. In their worst loss of the season, a 92-65 blowout at Illinois, the Gophers were crushed on the boards, 43-24.
However, the development of Robbins buoyed Minnesota to outrebound Michigan State (52-36) and Ohio State (41-39) in the Gophers’ two recent wins.
The Gophers have also defended the 3-pointer well, holding opponents to just 31% in their five conference games. They have also limited Big Ten opponents to just 43.5% from 2-point range, second-best among conference teams.
In summary? Minnesota features a combination of three things Michigan has not faced all season: A big man to match Dickinson, a fantastic perimeter scorer and the best effective field goal percentage allowed in Big Ten play.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This is the biggest test of the year for Michigan, with an opponent that is very comfortable playing in the Crisler Center. Under Pitino, the Gophers have covered 60% of the games at Michigan, including the last three in a row.
Per the Action Network App, the line has already risen from Minnesota -6.5 to -7.5 and should trend even higher throughout the day.
Michigan has looked impressive in recent weeks, but they are playing a difficult matchup against a conference foe that has played well in the Crisler Center.
I’m backing the Golden Gophers in a game that should come down to the final few possessions.
Pick: Minnesota +7.5 (down to +6.5)