NCAA Basketball Picks: Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Wisconsin Badgers

Penn State Nittany Lions at Wisconsin Badgers
Thursday, 1/3/12, 8:30 PM EST, TV:  Big Ten Network
Opening Point Spread:  Wisconsin -18
Current Betting Line:  Wisconsin -17.5
Opening Total:  124
Current Total:  125.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Wisconsin Badgers have never lost to the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Kohl Center

Penn State is riding a four-game win streak, which includes an impressive 84-74 win over the Duquesne Dukes as five-point home favorites Saturday, while going OVER the posted total of 133.  The Nittany Lions are 7-13 all-time in Big Ten Conference openers, including a 3-9 mark when doing so on the road.  Offensively, the team is averaging 78.5 points on 47 percent shooting over its last four outings.  Penn State is 0-3 ATS as an underdog this year, with the OVER going 2-1 in those contests.

The Nittany Lions current streak of four straight games of 70-plus points is their longest since 2008.  Penn State is 6-2 in the eight games since losing do-everything guard Tim Frazier for the season, but the squad has been boosted by its bench recently, including a season-high 25 points from its reserves last time out.  Sophomore guard D.J. Newbill is the team’s leading scorer, putting up double figures in points in 11 of 12 games this year.

Wisconsin has won its last three games, including a dominating 87-51 victory over Samford as 29-point home favorites, while going OVER the total in consecutive contests.  The Badgers have held each of their last 16 home opponents to 60 points or less, which is the longest active streak in college basketball.  The program owns an impressive 174-16 record at the Kohl Center, including an 84-9 mark in conference play.  Wisconsin is 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of 15.5 to 18 points over the last two-plus seasons, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks Thursday night.

The Badgers have won 15 consecutive home games against the Nittany Lions, including a 12-0 mark at this facility.  Wisconsin has held Penn State to an average of 52.0 points per game over the last 17 meetings.  It’s all about the field goal percentage for this squad, as it boasts a perfect 9-0 record when shooting better than its opponent, while going 0-4 when failing to do so.

Sports bettors will likely back the Badgers due to their 12-7 ATS mark at home when the total is between 120 to 129.5, while the Nittany Lions are 7-14 ATS as road underdogs.

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