College Basketball Big Ten Betting Selections: Northwestern Wildcats at #14 Wisconsin Badgers

Northwestern Wildcats at Wisconsin Badgers
Kohl Center – Madison, Wisconsin

Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Opening Line: Wisconsin -16 1/2
Current Line: Wisconsin -17
Opening Total: 118 1/2
Current Total: 122 1/2
Opening Money Line: Wisconsin -2023 / Northwestern +1427
Current Money Line: Wisconsin -3238 / Northwestern +2012

Wisconsin is a large favorite at home against Northwestern.
Wisconsin is a large favorite at home against Northwestern.

The Wisconsin Badgers snapped a 3 game losing streak Saturday at Purdue 72-58 to improve to 17-3 this season. The Badgers are fourth in the Big Ten at 4-3. Wiscosnin hosts the 10-11 Northwestern Wildcats Wednesday night. The Wildcats are ninth in the conference at 3-5.

Wisconsin leads the series 112-61 against Northwestern including 64-20 in Madison. The Badgers have won 7 straight games against the Wildcats, including a 76-49 rout in Evanston January 2. It was the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Northwestern is coached by Chris Collins. The Wildcats have losses at Stanford, Illinois State, Missouri and UCLA in tournament in Las Vegas, at North Carolina State, DePaul, Wisconsin, at Michigan, Iowa twice (including 76-50 Saturday in Evanston) and Michigan State. Northwestern has key wins over Illinois-Chicago, Western Michigan, Brown, Illinois, at Indiana, and Purdue. The Wildcats are 7-13 ATS and the total is 6-14 this season.

Northwestern is being outscored 64-61 this season. The Wildcats are #40 nationally in points allowed but #342 out of 351 teams in scoring.  Northwestern is shooting 39.4% from the field and 29.5% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #332 or worse in both categories. Northwestern makes 70.2% of their free throws. Wildcat opponents are shooting 40.7% from the field and 30.7% from three point range. Northwestern is #46 nationally in 3 point defense. The Wildcats average 34.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 34.3. Northwestern averages 11.5 assists, 11.1 turnovers, 4.1 steals and 4.2 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.5 assists, 10.5 turnovers, 6.2 steals and 4.3 blocks per game.

Guard/forward Drew Crawford averages 15.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1 block per game. Guard JerShon Cobb averages 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. Guard Tre Demps averages 10.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists. Center Alex Olah averages 8.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. Guard Dave Sobolewski averages 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Sanjay Lumpkin, Kale Abrahamson and Nathan Taphorn will also get time in the rotation.

Wisconsin is coached by Bo Ryan. The Badgers have losses at Indiana, Michigan and at Minnesota. Wisconsin has key wins over St. John’s in Sioux Falls, SD, Florida, at Green Bay, Bowling Green, Oral Roberts, Saint Louis and West Virginia both in a tournament in Cancun, at Virginia, Marquette, Milwaukee, at Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois and Purdue. The Badgers are 12-8 ATS and the total is 11-8 this season.

Wisconsin is outscoring teams 75-63. The Badgers are #35 in points allowed nationally. Wisconsin is shooting 46.9% from the field and 38.3% from 3 point range. The Badgers make 74% of their free throws. Wisconsin is 62nd or better nationally in all three shooting categories. Badger opponents are shooting 42.3% from the field and 31.7% from 3 point range. Wisconsin averages 34.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.2 per game. The Badgers average 12.5 assists, 8.3 turnovers, 4.9 steals and 3.7 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.4 assists, 10.2 turnovers, 4.4 steals and 3.3 blocks per game.

Wisconsin forward Sam Dekker averages 14.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists, Forward Frank Kaminsky averages 13.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.9 blocks per game. Guard Ben Brust averages 12.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. Guard Traevon Jackson averages 11.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists. Guard Josh Gasser averages 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Forward Nigel Hayes averages 6.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. Duje Dukan, Bronson Koenig,  and George Marshall will also get significant minutes in the rotation.

Northwestern is 3-7 ATS overall, 4-11 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in Wednesday games, 2-8-1 after a double digit home loss, 1-5 in road games, and 1-6 against teams with winning home records. The road team is 5-2 ATS in the last 5 games in this series.

Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in Wednesday games, 8-3 after a straight up win, and 5-12 against teams with losing road records. The last four games in Madison in this series have gone over the total. Wisconsin has covered the last 5 games against Northwestern and was favored in each of those games.

Both Northwestern and Wisconsin have top 40 defenses but Northwestern is simply dreadful  on offense. Wiscosnin won by 27 points on the road at Northwestern at the beginning of the month. I don’t see the Wildcats doing much better in Madison. The Badgers should roll in this game.

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