Minnesota vs. Wisconsin Odds, Expert Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide (Tuesday, Jan. 3)
Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Steven Crowl (Wisconsin)
- Minnesota and Wisconsin go head-to-head in a Big Ten tilt from Madison.
- Are the Golden Gophers a better team than their record says?
- Keg dives in to preview this matchup and give us the answer.
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin Odds
-114o / -106u
-114o / -106u
Minnesota will hit the road still in search of its first Big Ten win of the season after dropping games against both Purdue and Michigan. The Gophers will take on the Wisconsin Badgers, who are 10-2 on the season and 2-0 in conference (wins over Maryland and Iowa).
The Golden Gophers lost by 15+ in both conference matchups and covered against only Purdue by half a point.
The Badgers, meanwhile, won and covered against both Iowa and Maryland.
Wisconsin holds a slight lead over the Gophers in the all-time series, 100-98. However, the Badgers have been dominant at home, leading the series 62-33 on games played in Madison.
And while Wisconsin beat Minnesota in both meetings last season, it failed to cover the spread.
Tuesday’s matchup will also mark four years since the last time the Golden Gophers won in Madison.
The Golden Gophers’ defense has been impressive, holding teams to an effective field goal percentage of 47.1% and allowing 61.3 points per game.
But they’ve done so mainly by defending shots and slowing down the game down as much as possible. Minnesota rarely forces teams to turn the ball over, as opponents average 11.2 giveaways per game.
Against the Badgers, the Golden Gophers’ defense could be in trouble, though. Wisconsin averages 23.4 3-point attempts per game, and it’s among the nation’s top-25 best 3-point shooting teams, hitting 38.1% from beyond the arc.
On the other hand, Minnesota has struggled to defend from 3-point range, allowing teams to shoot 33.5% from deep. The Gophers have been even worse as of late, as teams have hit 37.6% from deep over the last five against them.
While the Minnesota defense has been solid, it doesn’t mean much if the Gophers can’t score. Minnesota is averaging just 63.4 points per game, owns a negative scoring margin of -3.3 and ranks outside the top 200 in effective field goal percentage.
The Gophers have also struggled in terms of taking care of the ball, as they turn the ball over on 20.4% of possessions.
Even worse, while they’ve been great at drawing fouls — forcing opponents into 17.8 per game on average — they’ve been awful at the line. Minnesota is one of the bottom-five teams in the nation at the charity stripe, hitting just 58.7% from the free-throw line.
Wisconsin may be 10-2 on the season, but it’s far from perfect.
One of the most significant issues for the Badgers has been rebounding. Wisconsin gets just 22.9% of offensive rebounding opportunities, and it has struggled across the board when it comes to the paint.
Wisconsin averages 28.3 points per game in the paint and rarely even attempts shots at the rim. Sure, it’s been elite from 3-point range, but with almost 40% of its points coming from beyond the arc, the Badgers could be in significant trouble if shots aren’t falling from deep for any reason.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Badgers should be able to limit an already struggling Golden Gophers offense. Wisconsin has limited teams to 63.4% on the season at the rim, and that’s where Minnesota takes most of its shots.
The Badgers have been even better as of late, holding opponents to just 60% over their last five.
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick
Wisconsin is undoubtedly the better team in this game, but exactly how good is yet to be determined. With each passing game, the Badgers’ wins over Iowa and Maryland look less impressive.
Minnesota needs to play better basketball, but it’s a better team than its record reflects, in my opinion.
14 points feels like a lot in a matchup that could see both teams score less than 65 points — based on the pace of play. Minnesota and Wisconsin both rank outside the top 300 in Adjusted Tempo.
So, with that being said, I’ll be backing the Badgers in the first half instead of the full game.
Minnesota last played a game on December 22 because its matchup with Alcorn State was canceled. After not playing for nearly two weeks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Minnesota struggle to get back in rhythm in the first half.
Back the Badgers as high as -8 in the first 20 minutes.