January 25, 2021

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Michigan Wolverines vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Preview & Best Bet – 1/12/2021

Spread: Michigan (-4); Total: 134

January 12th, 2021. 6 PM CT. Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Cashed ticket number 5 of 7 for the season as the Hoosiers managed to pull away from the Cornhuskers after blowing a huge lead on Sunday. Now let’s try to cash ticket number 6 on a much better game in a top 10 clash as  # 9 Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor to take on #7 Michigan.

Michigan Wolverines (10-0, 5-0)

There might not be a hotter team in college basketball right now than the Michigan Wolverines. They are undefeated and most of their games have not been close. In fact, outside of an uncharacteristically 4 point win over Penn State, the Wolverines have won every game by at least 9 points. This does beg the question though, who have they played? The answer: relatively nobody. You can only beat who is on your schedule and they have done so in convincing fashion which is important, but they really have not beaten anybody. The only two wins that really impressed me were the 9 point win over Maryland on the road and the 25 point beatdown of Minnesota. Even with these wins, Maryland is super streaky and unpredictable, and while Minnesota is a good team, they are not good on the road. This game for me is finally a chance for Michigan to prove it against a top tier opponent. The Wolverines are led by Freshman phenom Hunter Dickinson. He leads the team in points and rebounds with 18.0 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

Wisconsin Badgers (10-2, 4-1)

Wisconsin is quietly the best team in the conference not named Iowa. I think sometimes they get lost in the shuffle because they do not have a superstar. While Iowa has Luka Garza and Illinois has Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, what the Badgers have is a balanced senior led team brand of basketball. In fact, they have 5 players all averaging at least 9.8 points per game and as you might have guessed, all 5 of those players are seniors. The other interesting part of their team is that all of those players are averaging between 9.8 and 14.8 points per game which means that any of these 5 players are capable of taking over a game. Wisconsin comes into this one after surviving a double overtime scare against Indiana at home. 

Prediction

Michigan is very good, but I will not be sold on them until they get a victory over a top tier opponent. Wisconsin is battle tested and already owns a nice conference road win over Michigan State in East Lansing. My gut tells me that Wisconsin +4 should be an easy pick. However, since Michigan has not had a chance over a top tier I am a little nervous that Michigan might cover, which they also have the stats to back that up. Michigan is 6-2 at home ATS this season as well as a perfect 10-0 record when they are the favorite. So that made me turn my attention over/under. Set at 134, I thought that over/under was a little low, especially considering that Michigan has gone over 6 out of 10 games and Wisconsin has gone over 8 out of 12 games. The projections I have been looking at having this game going into the 140s. I like Wisconsin to win and the total to go over. I think there is value on Wisconsin ML at +160 as well as on the over 134 at -110, but to go on the safer side, my best bet is Tease Wisconsin (+9) with over 129.

Matthew’s college basketball record 2020: 5-2