Friday’s NCAAB Betting Previews: Wisconsin-Iowa, Mississippi State-Dayton
Matt Bush, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Lamar Peters
Big Ten matchups tip-off this weekend with the conference shifting to a 20-game slate, including a top-25 contest between Iowa and Wisconsin. But before that, Mississippi State travels to Dayton for its first true road game this season.
What are the best bets for each game? Let’s break them down.
Betting Odds: Mississippi State (-3.5) at Dayton | Over/Under: 135.5
This game is already sold out, which explains why the line is trending in the Flyers’ favor. Dayton hosts the First Four each season, as it represents one of the better college basketball environments in the country.
The Bulldogs (2-4 against the spread) are not only in for a test via the hostile atmosphere, but the Flyers (3-3 ATS) are also an extremely physical unit. They showcase it on the glass, yielding the 22nd-lowest opponents’ Offensive Rebounding Rate (22.6%).
Mississippi State dealt with a similar foe in Arizona State, though, and the Bulldogs impressed in the second half despite the 5-point loss.
Ben Howland’s group overcame an 18-point first decifict through its stellar defense generating opportunities in transition. Overall, the Bulldogs showcase the 21st-lowest Adjusted Defensive Efficiency in Division I while amassing a 21.3 Opponents’ Turnover Percentage.
The Bulldogs’ evident size advantage should aid them at both ends of the court, especially with 6-foot-11 sophomore Abul Ado expected to suit up. Ado, who owns the 82nd-highest Block Rate (8.5%) in the nation, missed their past two games with an ankle injury.
Mississippi State is 18-14 ATS (56.3%) when laying at least 4 points in Howland’s 3-plus regular seasons with the program, per our Bet Labs data. Expect its 39th-ranked Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, led by Quinndary Weatherspoon (17.0 ppg), to produce enough to pull away with the cover.
The total already dipped 2.5 points at some sportsbooks, showcasing the potential for a low-scoring tussle, and I still think there’s value on the under.
THE PICK: Bulldogs -3.5; Under 135.5
Betting Odds: Wisconsin (-1.5) at Iowa | Over/Under: 143
The Hawkeyes (2-4 ATS) are due for a bit of regression after an undefeated start, including a 69-68 win over Pittsburgh in their latest affair. Enter Wisconsin, which enters Iowa City with the 11th-lowest AdjD in Division I.
The Badgers (4-3 ATS) are allowing a 23.2% Free Throw Rate (FTA/FGA), and that metric accounts for 31.1% of Iowa’s offense — good for the highest rate in college basketball. Wisconsin’s sound interior defense, led by preseason All-American Ethan Happ and Nate Reuvers, should stifle the Hawkeyes in the lane. Reauvers boasts the 13th-highest Block Rate (13.5%) in the nation.
Wisconsin has also evolved into the 10th-best 3-point shooting squad (43.8%) in the sport, guided by D’Mitrik Trice’s resurgence. The 6-foot sophomore is manufacturing a 62.8 Effective Field Goal Percentage after missing most of last season with a right foot injury. Pitt shot 42.1% from behind the arc against the Hawkeyes, and I’m expecting the Badgers to be on par with that success rate.
Considering Wisconsin’s 13.8 Turnover Percentage — the 7th-lowest in the country — and the Hawkeyes’ average miscue-forcing defense, Greg Gard’s bunch should control the pace. It owns the sixth-lowest Adjusted Tempo overall (65.1 possessions per 40 minutes).
According to Bet Labs, the Badgers are 5-6 ATS (45.5%) when they’re at least an 1.5-point road favorite in Gard’s 3-plus regular seasons at the helm. They’ll reach .500 following this matchup.
THE PICK: Wisconsin -1.5; Under 143