Tuesday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Rider vs. Wisconsin; Northern Iowa vs. Illinois State

Tuesday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: Rider vs. Wisconsin; Northern Iowa vs. Illinois State article feature image
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Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: Kobe King

As we finish off the calendar year, college basketball provides us with two opportunities to back two of the nation’s most consistently successful teams:  Wisconsin and Northern Iowa.

Let’s take a closer look at how each team projects to perform in its last game of 2019.


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Tuesday College Basketball Betting Picks

Rider vs. Wisconsin Odds

  • Spread: Wisconsin -12.5
  • Over/Under: 139.5
  • Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
  • TV:  BTN

The Wisconsin Badgers (7-5) are coming off a big 68-48 win at Tennessee. They have won two in a row and three of their last four games. They are 3-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last four home games, failing to cover the Wisconsin-Green Bay game by just a half a point.

Rider (7-3) has enjoyed a solid start to the season, but has lost its last three road games by an average of 19.7 points. The Broncs are only 5-5 ATS including 1-4 in true road games.

Wisconsin finally put forth a big road effort in the 20-point win at Tennessee. Guards D’Mitrik Trice (21 points) and Brevin Pritzl (17 points) led the way on a combined 12 of 16 from three. The Badgers also benefitted from the second game out of 6-foot-10 forward Micah Potter. The Ohio State transfer is finally eligible and provides valuable front-line depth for 6-foot-11 leading scorer Nate Reuvers (14.7 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 2.5 BPG).

The Badgers are superior on both sides of the ball and rank 39th in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom. Rider’s usual advantage is on the boards where it ranks 44th in offensive rebounding percentage. However, Wisconsin ranks top 50 in limiting offensive rebounding, and will be difficult to gain second chances against at the Kohl Center.

The Broncs’ fast-paced style (34th in adjusted tempo) is a poor match against the deliberate, disciplined offense of Wisconsin. Rider also shoots 67.3% from the free-throw line, more than 10 percentage points worse than the fundamentally-sound Badgers (78.2%).

Trice is a streaky shooter that has scored 52 combined points over Wisconsin’s past two games. With Potter adding depth, the Badgers are simply a better team on a hot streak at home.

I’m taking the Badgers to comfortably beat the Broncs at home, earning their third consecutive win before a big Friday night road game at conference rival Ohio State.

The Pick: Wisconsin -12.5

Northern Iowa vs. Illinois State

  • Spread: Northern Iowa -4.5
  • Over/Under: 134
  • Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
  • TV:  ESPN+

Northern Iowa (11-1) is off to one of the best starts in the country. The Panthers have earned big wins at Colorado and Grand Canyon with a neutral-court victory over South Carolina. Northern Iowa is also one of the best teams in the nation against the spread this season, with an 8-2 overall record including a perfect 3-0 in true road games.

Illinois State (5-7) enters this game having alternated a win and a loss during each of its past six games. The Redbirds are 4-7 ATS including just 2-3 at home.

Northern Iowa head coach Ben Jacobson’s three-guard attack of AJ Green (16.6 PPG, 88.4% FT), Trae Berhow (15.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG) and Spencer Haldeman (10.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG) is a handful to stop, especially with Berhow shooting 55.9% (38 of 68) from beyond the arc. The Panthers offense is super efficient and ranks 29th in the country with a 76.6% team free throw shooting average.

Meanwhile, Illinois State’s defense is anything but efficient. The Redbirds rank 245th in effective field-goal percentage and 265th in 2P% allowed.

The Redbirds shoot well from three-point range and are led by senior guard Zach Copeland (15 PPG, 41% 3P),  but Northern Iowa ranks top 90 in the country at defending the 3P.  Factor in that the Redbirds shoot a horrific 63.2% from the free-throw line and it’s hard to see the underdog pulling the upset, even at home.

Northern Iowa hasn’t won at Illinois State since the 2015 season, and is more than ready to end that streak.

I’m taking Northern Iowa to kick off its Missouri Valley schedule with a nice road win.

The Pick: Northern Iowa -4.5

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