College Basketball Betting Preview: Wisconsin Badgers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini

Wisconsin Badgers at Illinois Fighting Illini
Sunday, 2/3/13, 3:30 PM EST, TV:  Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread:  Wisconsin -1
Current Betting Line:  Wisconsin -2
Opening Total:  126
Current Total:  126
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Illinois Fighting Illini guard Brandon Paul has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this year
Illinois Fighting Illini guard Brandon Paul has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this year

Wisconsin is the only team in the country to have played at least seven games against AP top-25 foes, as it has alternated wins and losses over its last three contests, including a 58-49 setback to the Ohio State Buckeyes as 5.5-point road underdogs last time out.  The Badgers are 8-5 on the road during Big Ten Conference play the last two seasons, while they’ve put together an even 64-64 mark in 12 years under Bo Ryan in that situation.  Wisconsin is 0-2 ATS as a road favorite of three points or less this season, which is important to consider when making your college basketball picks against the spread on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Badgers lead the conference and rank eighth nationally in allowing just 55.0 points per game, while they’ve held 10 of their last 11 opponents under 60 points.  Senior forward Jared Berggren is certainly the player to watch on the offensive end, as he’s averaged 15.0 points and 7.3 rebounds in his last three games versus the Fighting Illini.  The program has won 11 of the last 15 overall meetings in this series, including four of its last six trips to Assembly Hall.

Illinois has dropped five of its last six games, as it attempts to bounce back from a disappointing 80-75 loss to the Michigan State Spartans as 8.5-point road underdogs, while going OVER the total for the first time in five contests.  The Fighting Illini haven’t dropped four straight at home since the 2007-08 season.  Offensively, the team hit nine 3-pointers versus the Spartans, which was its most since Jan. 2.  Illinois is 4-4 ATS as an underdog this year, with the OVER going 5-3 in that situation.

The Fighting Illini are led on the offensive end by senior guard Brandon Paul, who has scored at least 13 points in all but one game this year.  Illinois is 5-3 all-time when playing before the NFL’s biggest game, which includes a 74-70 defeat to Northwestern last year.  Reaching 70 points on the offensive end is certainly a key for this team, as it has produced a 12-2 record when doing so.

Sports bettors will likely back the Badgers due to their 4-0 ATS mark in the last four meetings in this series.

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