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Odds and Ends

Back Wisconsin and Utah State in revenge spots

by Vaughn Dalzell
Updated On: January 27, 2021, 7:29 am ET

Wisconsin (-3.5) at Maryland

This is a revenge spot for the Wisconsin Badgers after losing 70-64 at home to the Maryland Terps on Dec. 28. Wisconsin is 4-2 SU since that loss going 1-1 on the road losing to Michigan and beating Rutgers. Maryland is 3-4 SU since its win over Wisconsin, including upsets over Illinois and Minnesota.  

It has been pretty evident that Maryland has enjoyed playing the spoiler's role this season, especially on the road. Maryland won three consecutive road games against ranked opponents but are 0-3 at home in conference play. Maryland has lost to Rutgers (74-60), Michigan (84-73) and Iowa (89-67), losing by 11, 14 and 22 points. Maryland has two home wins since Dec. 5, a 13-point win over La Salle and a 42-point victory over Non-DI Wingate. 

Wisconsin is 6-3 SU in conference play and is one of the Big Ten premier teams. Maryland is on the other end of the spectrum, going 3-6 SU. The Terps victory over Wisconsin was led by Maryland's Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala. The two went off for 32 of the teams 70 points (45.7%) and likely will not repeat that performance on Wisconsin again. Wisconsin has only had four road games all season, going 2-2 SU with a two-point loss to rival Marquette and a 23-point loss to Michigan. Wisconsin beat Rutgers and Michigan State in the two road wins.

The Badgers rank second behind Villanova in turnover-to-assist ratio (1.59) in the country. Defensively, Maryland is not forcing many turnovers holding a 16.3% turnover percentage ranking 307th in the nation. That is going to be a point of emphasis for the Terps today, but in eight straight games for the Badgers, they have recorded 10 or fewer turnovers. Wisconsin has only coughed up the ball more than 10 times once this season out of 16 games, 11 versus Nebraska.

Only Illinois and Iowa are shooting the three at a higher percentage than Wisconsin at 37.9% in the conference, good enough for 32nd in the country. Wisconsin is defending the two-ball at 44.3%, 31st in the nation, and the three at 32.6% (133rd). The Badgers will have to slow the Terps down offensively as Maryland is a solid all-around offensive squad.

Wisconsin led by four at halftime before being outscored 46-36 in the second half. Maryland knocked down clutch shots in Madison, WI, leading 60-59 with 1:58 remaining -- the Terps went on a 10-5 run to end the game. Maryland has yet to play a close home game this season, winning by 18-plus in all six wins or losing by 11 or more in three losses. 

Wisconsin is 5-2 ATS in the last seven road games, while Maryland is 0-4 AST in the previous four home games. The Badgers have also won two of the last three meetings overall between the programs. I expect Wisconsin's experience, ball-control and motivation behind the loss earlier in the season to be too much for Maryland. 

Back the Badgers up to two possessions on the road tonight. I grabbed Wisconsin -3 overnight as the spread opened at -2.5 before moving to -3.5 on most books. I would play this up to -4.5 for 1 unit if the spread continues to move.

Game Pick: Wisconsin -3 (2u) 

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Utah State (-5.5) at UNLV

This is a bounceback spot for the Utah State Aggies. After a 12-3 start, Utah State has lost two straight, including a 59-56 loss to UNLV on Monday. That meeting marked Utah State's first true road loss of the season after losing two neutral court games to open the year and two at home. 

UNLV enters this second meeting at 6-6 on the season and have two back-to-back situations under their belt. In the first back-to-back, UNLV lost by three in both games at Colorado State. In the second set, UNLV beat New Mexico by 23 in the first game but only seven in the second. Colorado State has not lost at home yet this season and that includes an 84-76 upset over Utah State on Thursday.

Utah State played a back-to-back set with New Mexico as well and drilled them 77-45 and 82-46 in both meetings. The Aggies have played five back-to-back sets this season, with this game versus UNLV being the sixth. Utah State is 5-1 SU in the first game of a back-to-back after the loss to UNLV. Utah State is 4-1 SU in the second game after their loss to Colorado State on the road.

Utah State's average margin of victory in the first game is 26.3 points and the second 23.2 points. In three of the last five final or second games of a back-to-back set, Utah State has scored more points by an average of 8.0 per game. After a season-low 56 points versus UNLV, I expect Utah State to clear the 60-point mark and get the win and cover in the second meeting. If Utah State's Team Total opens around the 62.5 or 63.5 mark, it could be worth a look.

One area where Utah State could steal the show tonight is in the paint. The Aggies rank sixth in the country, defending the two at a 41.5%-clip. UNLV ranks 224th overall, hitting 48.6% from two and struggles to defend the three, allowing a conversion rate of 36.5% (279th). Utah State is ranked sixth in the nation with an 89.0 adjusted defensive efficiency and top 18 in offensive (18th) and defensive (6th) rebounding percentage. The defense will lead to offense today for the Aggies.

Utah State was an unblemished 5-0 ATS in the last five road games until the ATS and outright loss to UNLV. The Aggies are 9-2 ATS in their previous 11 games this season. Utah State played at UNLV a ton over the past few years. The Aggies won seven of its previous eight games inside the Thomas & Mack Center, including Mountain West Tournament contests and road games at UNLV. Back Utah State in a bounce back spot to end their losing streak - playable to -6.5.

Game Pick: Utah State -5.5 (1u)

Vaughn Dalzell

Vaughn Dalzell is a former Division I SID, two-time IUP Alumnus and also a contributor on numberFire, FantasyPros and Bet The Prop. You can follow him on Twitter for more insight @VmoneySports.