Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST.
9:00 PM EST. The Golden Gophers are 11-2 and coming off a 71-53 win over Mount St. Mary's, but we're not going to put too much stock into what was essentially a "tune-up" game for Minnesota before diving back into Big Ten play. Sure, their record is nice on paper, but so was the Gophers 7-0 start last season before they imploded, winning just two of their last 15 games. We have been critical of programs coached by a Pitino because they often load their non-conference schedule with cupcake wins before getting exposed during conference play, but this year we’ll give ol' Richie some credit, as his squad has played the 169th toughest schedule in the nation. Usually, that number would be in the two or three hundred range. Still, the Golden Gophers do not have a non-conference win against a ranked opponent and the only victory they do have against a Top 25 team was an 85-78 home win over Nebraska, who cracked the polls this week. A loaded home sked has also helped to pad the Gophers record, as they've played just two true road games this season and subsequently getting blasted by double digits in both. Minnesota lost 79-59 at Ohio State and 68-56 at Boston College. Minnesota has been a big favorite (15-points or more) in its last four games and now the Golden Gophers take a big step up in competition against what should be a focused Wisconsin side.
Underpriced favorites are not uncommon in college hoops, which brings us to these Badgers after the #23 team in the nation dropped an embarrassing 83-76 decision on the road at Western Kentucky. Now, if you're a frequent reader to this space, you may remember that game, as we were on the Hilltoppers that night. It was a perfect situational play that happened to work out in our favor, but the Badgers team that takes the floor tonight shouldn’t be the same one that got caught on that poorly scheduled night in Bowling Green. Before dropping that game at WKU, Wisconsin's only other defeats had came to ranked schools, Virginia and Marquette. The Badgers fell seven spots in the polls for that misstep, but now we get to back them here spotting fewer points than we should be. There is value in that too.
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#656 WISCONSIN -9½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)