- The Northwestern Wildcats (6-2) take on the Michigan Wolverines (8-0) at the Crisler Center at 7:30pm ET on Jan. 3rd
- Northwestern is coming off of a loss to Iowa while Michigan has yet to lose a game this season
- See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet, below
Two top-20 teams will take the floor when the Northwestern Wildcats visit the Michigan Wolverines. The Wildcats are coming off just their second loss of the season at the hands of the Iowa Hawkeyes last Tuesday. Michigan schooled Maryland 84-73 their last time out on New Year’s Eve.
The Wolverines have won four of the last five games between the two schools including a 79-54 beatdown last February. The current odds show Michigan as an 8.5-point favorite in this matchup.
Northwestern vs Michigan Odds
|Northwestern Wildcats||+8.5 (-112)||+330||Over 144.5 (-115)|
|Michigan Wolverines||-8.5 (-108)||-420||Under 144.5 (-105)|
Odds as of January 2nd at FanDuel.
Northwestern Running The Gauntlet
This game will be the third in a row against a ranked opponent for the Wildcats. It doesn’t get any easier for them as their next three opponents after Michigan are all ranked as well. Northwestern did well in the first of their battles against ranked opponents by beating Ohio State 71-70 at the Welsh-Ryan Arena. The next one didn’t go so well as they were sent back to earth by the 10th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes 87-72.
Hawkeyes are back on track 💪
Jordan Bohannon drains SIX threes as No. 10 Iowa secures a win over No. 19 Northwestern! pic.twitter.com/TleQK48s4W
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 30, 2020
Northwestern has done a great job all season defending the three-point line, holding opponents to 28.2% shooting, which ranks 66th in the country. That was not the case against Iowa as the Hawkeyes made it rain from beyond the arc, making 11 of their 26 attempts. Northwestern just couldn’t keep pace with Iowa, although Pete Nance put up 21 points for the Wildcats in the losing effort.
Michigan Just Keeps Winning
The Wolverines’ schedule has been a little more forgiving as this will be their first game against a ranked opponent. Still they haven’t lost yet this season and it has a lot to do with how efficient they have been on offense. So far this season they rank seventh best in offensive efficiency in the nation out of 357 teams, according to KenPom. They have scored at least 80 points in every game this season except for one and they rang in the new year by hanging 84 on the road against Maryland.
NYE Road Dub.
Dickinson: 26P (CH), 11R, 1B, 1A
Wagner: 19P, 4A, 3S
Smith: 16P, 6R, 6A
Brooks: 10P, 4A, 3R, 2S#GoBlue 〽️🏀 pic.twitter.com/UlnvGdOAN7
— Michigan Men’s Basketball (@umichbball) January 1, 2021
Maryland hung tight with Michigan in the first half going into the locker rooms only down a bucket. The Wolverines slowly pulled away in the second half, getting easy basket after easy basket. Michigan was just too much down low for the Terrapins, scoring half of their 84 points in the paint. Center Hunter Dickinson led the way with his second straight double-double, scoring 26 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.
Best Betting Angle
Northwestern has been a pretty easy team to call recently for the bookmakers in terms of the total. Their last three totals have all opened within two points of where the game ultimately ended. This one could be different, though because the total seems to have been set just a little too low.
Northwestern has given up at least 70 points to their last two opponents (Iowa, Ohio State) which is not a good sign for this game. The Wolverines have the exact same offensive efficiency rating as Ohio State but one thing they do better than the Buckeyes is shoot the three-ball. They are currently hitting 35% from three-point land which is deadly when their dominance down low is considered. If they have anywhere near the type of night shooting that Iowa did against the Wildcats, this game will fly over this total.
Pick: Over 144.5 (-115)