Franz Wagner
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Michigan visits Purdue for marquee showdown

Updated On: January 22, 2021, 10:03 am ET

Michigan (-3.5) at Purdue

An interesting stat and fact when betting on this matchup, Michigan has owned Purdue. That is all. The Wolverines are 7-3 SU and 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings and when Purdue has been the favorite, Michigan has gone 7-0 ATS in the previous seven.

Pretty wild one-sided numbers for Michigan, and most models project the Wolverines a 60% chance or slightly better to win this game outright. Michigan bounced back with an 87-63 win over Maryland at home and on the road, the only imperfection of the season is an upset loss at Minnesota.

Minnesota is an excellent team at home, so Michigan's only loss should be taken with a grain of salt, in my opinion. For Purdue, all four of their losses have come on the road or on a neutral floor. Purdue has lost to Clemson (neutral), Miami, FL (road), Iowa (road), Illinois (road) and Rutgers (road) this season. 

All five losses are to teams in the top 100, so we know Purdue is a legit contender this year, but away from home, not so much. The Boilermakers are 3-4 on the road and 2-1 in neutral court play. At home, can they upset Michigan? 

Michigan's Isaiah Livers delivered 20 points in 29 minutes versus Maryland and has scored double-digits in five straight games. The Wolverines are 33-5 SU when he plays and 5-5 when he does not. He is suiting up for this one. Big man Frantz Wagner has scored 12 or more points in six of the last seven games and recorded nine or more boards in four contests during that span. Both players will be critical pieces to Michigan earning the road win.

Purdue has beaten Maryland, Ohio State and Penn State at home this season. Impressive wins but not on the same level as Michigan. Purdue won all three games by single-digits, while Michigan trounced Maryland and beat Penn State by four in the conference opener for Michigan. 

The road team is 3-1-1 ATS in the last five in this series, and Michigan is 5-1 ATS in their last six games as a road favorite. Purdue is 8-0 SU and 4-3-1 ATS at home this season, and after Michigan just came off their first home loss, I see them serving Purdue their first home loss. 

The Wolverines won two of their three road games by 11 points this season, with an 18-point loss to Minnesota in the other. The line opened at Michigan -2 and now is -3.5. This should continue to rise as Michigan is the hot play in this series. I would play this up to -5.

Game Pick: Michigan -3.5 (1u)

 

Ball State at Ohio (-5)

Ohio saw their previous game versus Northern Illinois canceled due to COVID concerns within the Huskies' program. Ball State is coming off a 10-point loss to Miami (OH) on Tuesday, marking the second straight loss on the road and third in the previous four.

Ohio is 2-2 SU in their last four meetings versus Ball State but has won nine of the previous 11 games overall. Ohio won 78-68 without Jason Preston on Jan. 2, behind all five starters scoring double-digits. The Bobcats outrebounded the Cardinals 32-26 and shot 55.4% from the field and held Ball State to 46.4%.  

On the season, Preston's averaging 18.3 points, 7.7 assists, and 6.0 rebounds per game. He also posts a better assist to turnover ratio at home, 5.8 compared to 3.3 on the road. Preston has played 34 or more minutes in four of the last five games and 70 combined in his past two since returning from injury. 

Ohio recorded 13 assists versus Ball State without Preston. Ohio averages 18.1 per game on the year, which is 14th in the country thanks to Preston. His 7.7 assists per game would be tied for the best per game average in the country, but his injury keeps him off the statistical leaderboard.

Ball State is 1-4 ATS in their last five games an underdog, while Ohio is 9-3 ATS in their previous 12 home contests. On a larger scale, Ball State does not cover well as road dogs, going 3-8 ATS in the last 11. Dating back to last season, Ohio is 7-1 ATS in their previous eight home games versus a team with a losing record. 

Simply put, Ohio has already beat this team without their best player (Preston). The spread grew from -3 to -5 overnight because of Preston and the Bobcats' previous 10-point win over the Cardinals two weeks ago. 

Game Pick: Ohio -5 (1u)

 

Weekend Preview of Top Matchups

Kansas at Oklahoma

Kansas is on a two-game losing streak headed into Norman, while Oklahoma are winners of two straight. Both of the Jayhawks' last two losses have come on the road and three-of-four away from home this season. Oklahoma's only home loss was a two-point game to Texas Tech in the conference opener.

Kansas beat Oklahoma 63-59 at home on Jan. 9, and they will go for the season sweep in Oklahoma. Oklahoma has lost three straight meetings with Kansas, five out of the last six and eight out of the last 10. 

This will likely open as a low spread -1 or -2 in favor of one side and bet up heavily once the public decides whom they like more -- my guess, Kansas.

No matter how you dice it up, Kansas losing three straight is improbable to some people, and a matchup versus an Oklahoma team they have beaten often is appealing. Oklahoma has beat TCU by 36, WVU by four and Kansas State by 26 this season at home. Kansas beat WVU by 14 and TCU by 29 this season. Expect a close match and if you plan on betting Kansas -- get them early.

 

Maryland at Minnesota

Minnesota is riding high with a win over who were the unbeaten Michigan Wolverines. Maryland was just trounced by Michigan on the road and now travel to the same Minnesota team Michigan just lost to. Bad news for the Terrapins. 

However, the good news is Maryland has historically handled Minnesota well. In the 12 total meetings, Maryland is 10-2 and 5-2 SU over the last seven meetings. In Minnesota, the Gophers are 2-4 all-time and since 2015-16, 1-3 at home and 2-5 overall.  

Maryland escaped with a one-point victory in their last outing (2/26/20), and this one could be closer than expected. Most models make it a -5 to -7 point spread in favor of Minnesota, but that may be too much in this matchup mixed in with Michigan's results with both.

 

Baylor at Oklahoma State

When this spread opens, expect a -7 or -9 type of spread in favor of Baylor. Despite Oklahoma State proving they are here and worth consideration come March, Baylor has been the right pick in this series for a long time.

The Bears have won nine out of the last 10 meetings, with the Cowboys' lone win coming in 2018-19. Baylor has won the last three meetings in Stillwater by four, seven, and 11 points. In each win, Baylor exceeded 70 points scoring 73 or more. 

Baylor's defense is capable of slowing down Oklahoma State's well-balanced attack behind freshman Cade Cunningham. Most models project Baylor with a 75% chance or higher to win.

 

Rutgers at Indiana

These two squads have only met nine times since 2014-15, with Indiana leading the series 6-3. Over the last four meetings, Rutgers has been hot, winning three of the previous four by seven, eight and nine points. 

With Rutgers being on the road, this game because a little harder to bet if you are on the Scarlet Knights side, but the Hoosiers are vulnerable. Indiana lost to Northwestern and Purdue at home this season but are coming off the largest win of the year, an upset over Iowa.

This is an obvious letdown game for the Hoosiers, and if the spread approaches double-digits or -7 and higher, Rutgers should be considered. I know Rutgers has lost five straight games, but that was the toughest stretch of the season. For Indiana, they have a look ahead game with Michigan up next. Rutgers may be the perfect sandwich opponent to upset Indiana right now. 

 

Davidson at UMass

If the name Tre Mitchell from UMass does not ring a bell, then you are truly missing out. He has been such a fun player to watch all season for the Minutemen, and this should be his last year collegiately with the way he has produced on the floor.

UMass is 5-3 with three straight wins, and in those three victories, Mitchell has scored 11, 16 and 24 points while posting seven or more rebounds. On the season, Mitchell's averaging 20.5 points and 7.3 rebounds, willing his team to a 4-1 conference record.

Davidson is on a three-game winning streak of their own and is 6-2 all-time versus UMass. The two programs have met all eight times since 2009-10. Dating back to 2014-15, Davidson is 5-1 SU. Umass lost by 35 in the last meeting and won 54-51 in the previous.

Mitchell scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in the 35-point loss. This meeting should be much closer, and with UMass being home, they are worth a hard look before blindly betting on Davidson.


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