Wisconsin vs Indiana Odds & Prediction | Big Ten Betting Preview

Wisconsin vs Indiana Odds & Prediction | Big Ten Betting Preview article feature image

Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images. Pictured: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana)

Wisconsin vs. Indiana Odds

Saturday, Jan. 14
1 p.m. ET
Wisconsin Odds
-110o / -110u
Indiana Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Big Ten is looking wide open.

It feels like 10 teams could win this league, and there are 11 teams with a conference record in-between 4-1 and 2-3.

Surprisingly, Indiana is not one of those teams. That's correct, the consensus preseason conference favorite is 1-4 at the start of league play.

To be fair, the Hoosiers are badly injured, with their two best defenders out indefinitely.

On the flip side, Wisconsin started the Big Ten season 3-0 before dropping back-to-back games against Illinois and Michigan State. Things are looking up in Madison.

But despite the two programs' relative play, it's always hard to win on the road in the Big Ten, and it's even harder to win in Bloomington.

Let's break this matchup down. Maybe we can find some betting angles.

Wisconsin Badgers

While Indiana is missing two of its biggest contributors, Wisconsin is missing its No. 1 guy. Tyler Wahl tweaked an ankle and missed the past two games, which predictably led to two losses.

Right now, Wahl is questionable for Saturday's matchup in Bloomington. His status is huge for handicapping this game, and he was "day-by-day" the last I heard.

If Wahl plays on Saturday, then Wisconsin is worth a look as a road underdog in this spot.

If Wahl doesn't, then we have to investigate a little further.

Wahl's injury does give us a deeper look into the rest of the roster. Carter Gilmore made two starts and Markus Ilver got double-digit reserve minutes in both contests.

Gilmore snagged seven boards against Illinois, but neither played well for the most part.

Meanwhile, Steven Crowl stepped up, scoring 39 points and grabbing 15 boards in the two games combined. The Badgers have come up short, but he's averaging almost 20 points on 58% shooting over the last four games.

Crowl is an interesting player. He's a seven-footer that can protect the rim, but he would rather stretch the defense with in-your-face, pull-up 3s.

🗣 BIG STEEEEEVE coming to life!@steven_crowl x #OnWisconsinpic.twitter.com/PZbp0ZLt73

— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) January 4, 2023

Crowl is still pretty effective in the post, especially passing out of it, which stretches defenses further. He's also a good rebounder, although only on the defensive end.

Either way, Crowl is the team's unquestioned leader until Wahl's return.

Chucky Hepburn has been as advertised, dropping 13 points a game while taking care of the ball. Under his leadership,  the Badgers are sixth nationally in offensive turnover rate.

Hepburn has also turned into Wisconsin's best perimeter defender. He's top-40 nationally in steal rate and second on the team in EvanMiya's DBPR metric.

Wisconsin will always have an effective defense. Add that to the Badgers' methodical pace, and they have a system that works well in Big Ten conference play.

But so far, Greg Gard's system hasn't been enough to overcome Wahl's absence.

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Indiana Hoosiers

I always knew Indiana wasn't the best team in the Big Ten. However, I didn't see the Hoosiers collapsing like this.

Without Xavier Johnson or Race Thompson, Mike Woodson's defense has collapsed. The Hoosiers have posted their three worst defensive performances in the last three games, allowing more than 84 points to Iowa, Northwestern and Penn State.

Penn State just burned the Hoosiers for a staggering 130 points per 100 possessions.

With Johnson and Thompson sidelined for the "indefinite future," I don't know how you fix this.

My best guess is the further development of Jalen Hood-Schifino and Jordan Geronimo.

Hood-Schifino needs to become a two-way carbon copy of Johnson for Indiana to keep its head above water. For Indiana to make a serious move in the Big Ten standings, he needs to run the pick-and-roll with Trayce Jackson-Davis at a high level while being a better spot-up shooter.

The freshman has come close to accomplishing the first task (.857 pick-and-roll PPP, 70th percentile), but has failed with the second (.744 spot-up PPP, 26th percentile).

He's been outstanding on the ball, but defenses can largely pack it in against Indiana without consistent perimeter shooting.

That said, those 3-point numbers have been steadily increasing, although his turnovers have also been steadily increasing. He had a career game against Northwestern, but there's always work to be done for young Big Ten guards.

Jalen Hood-Schifino went for 33 points in Indiana's loss to Northwestern. Nearly led late comeback. Now 21-44 from three after hitting 5-7. Came in shooting 45% on dribble jumpers and raised that number today. Not explosive but good use of change of speed. Needs to cut down TOs. pic.twitter.com/XSVsvwMvgL

— Jonathan Wasserman (@NBADraftWass) January 8, 2023

Meanwhile, Geronimo has been one of the team's worst defenders (.944 PPP allowed, 28th percentile), and he looked completely out-gunned in the Northwestern matchup.

Meanwhile, Tamar Bates hasn't helped much, either (.944 PPP, 28th percentile).

And as I ask every year with Indiana: where is Miller Kopp? He's shooting 45% from 3 but scoring just 8.8 points per game. He has the highest ORtg on the team (130) and should be more involved.

Jackson-Davis has been outstanding, as he's been in all four years in Bloomington. But we've seen this movie before, TJD can't carry this team alone.

If you're an Indiana fan, you better hope you get healthy or see serious development from key role players. And you need one to happen quickly before you fall further behind Nebraska in the conference standings.

Wisconsin vs. Indiana Betting Pick

So, we have a Big Ten ball game between a shorthanded Badgers team and a shorthanded Hoosiers team.

How do you handicap that?

I thought the last game would be "the spot" for Indiana, coming off back-to-back losses by a combined two points. Instead, the Hoosiers just rolled over and let Penn State cook them.

However, Penn State shot an absurd 18-for-31 from 3 in that game. Meanwhile, Indiana shot 4-for-14.

That's not sustainable. Indiana played better ball on the interior and out-rebounded the Nittany Lions significantly.

So, I bet we can see some game-to-game shooting regression from Indiana. The Hoosiers might also be slightly undervalued in this game, given their hilariously bad play.

The key here is Wisconsin's defense, which has been below-average in pick-and-roll and spot-up situations. If Hood-Schifino can capitalize on his recent improvement in play and cook the Badgers in those sets, this could be a get-right spot for Indiana. 

For this to happen, Jackson-Davis has to win the interior matchup with Crowl. Given one is a Wooden Award candidate and the other plays second fiddle in fully-healthy circumstances, I'll take that chance.

One caveat: If Wahl is healthy for this one, ignore everything I say. It's the Badgers or nothing in that scenario.

Pick: Indiana -5 or Better if Tyler Wahl is Out

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