College Basketball Picks: Michigan Wolverines vs. Northwestern Wildcats

Michigan Wolverines at Northwestern Wildcats
Thursday, 1/3/12, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Michigan -10.5
Current Betting Line:  Michigan -10.5
Opening Total:  128.5
Current Total:  129.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Michigan Wolverines are outscoring opponents by an average of 21.6 points per game this season

Michigan is one of four teams to have an undefeated record nationally, as it comes off an impressive 88-73 win over the Central Michigan Chippewas as 26-point home favorites, while going OVER the total for the fourth time in five contests.  The Wolverines are getting tremendous production out of leading scorer Trey Burke, who is averaging 17.8 points per game on the year, while dishing out 62 assists to just eight turnovers over his last eight games.  Michigan is 10-3 ATS on the road when the total is between 120 to 129.5, while the OVER is 8-5 in that situation.

The Wolverines are averaging 80.1 points per game, which ranks as the highest per game average under a John Beilein team during his time in Ann Arbor.  Michigan has won by an average of 21.6 points per game this season, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA basketball picks Thursday night.  Offensively, the team is shooting 40.7 percent from beyond the arc, which is the second-best mark in the Big Ten Conference.

Northwestern concluded non-conference play with a 63-42 win over Brown as 13.5-point home favorites, but the team has alternated wins and losses over its last six contests.  The Wildcats have two probable starters that are averaging in double figures, with senior guard Reggie Hearn leading the way, scoring 14.5 points and grabbing 5.5 rebounds per game.  The program suffered a pair of losses against Michigan last year, but has earned a split in the last eight meetings overall.  Northwestern is 7-1 ATS as a home underdog of 9.5 to 12 points in its last eight opportunities.

The Wildcats are expected to play five ranked teams in their first seven conference games, which is quite the schedule to play without the services of senior forward Drew Crawford, who had started all 10 of the team’s games until suffering a right shoulder injury.  The squad will need to continue taking care of the basketball, committing an average of 11.3 turnovers per game, which ranks 22nd nationally in that category.

Sports bettors will likely back the Wolverines due to their 10-3 ATS mark on the road when the total is between 120 to 129.5, while the Wildcats are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 home games in this series.

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