A Big Ten battle on Tuesday night sees the scorching hot Northwestern Wildcats travel to Iowa City and face the Iowa Hawkeyes. The clash is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. (ET) from the Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
WHERE TO BET NORTHWESTERN-IOWA
Northwestern-Iowa Betting Odds
Odds Subject to Change
Northwestern has come out of nowhere to put itself on the map for college basketball this season. The Wildcats will look to continue their surprising form in a tough environment as the underdog. Iowa is the home favorite, given a large -12-point spread with the game's point total opening at 158.5.
The schools are a combined 12-3 O/U this season, with each presenting a high-powered offense. Iowa has yet to lose at home this season, and has covered six of its last nine games. Northwestern has covered five of its last six games, and is undefeated on the road.
Betting Analysis – Northwestern Wildcats
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
If you're not familiar with the Northwestern Wildcats, you need to be. This is a dangerous team with tons of potential to make a March Madness run. The conference they play in will do them no favors for an easy bid, but be assure that the early data for this team is quite impressive.
Northwestern currently scores the 30th-most points per game in the nation, along with allowing the 48th-fewest points per game. The offense has the 19th-best efficiency rating in the country, while the defense at 86.2 is the 39th-most efficient. They're on a current four-game winning streak with their last three wins over Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State.
After just rattling off three high-caliber clubs, its quite ludicrous that Northwestern has yet to face any true top team in the conference (Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin). Despite the impressive resume and statistical team data, this is the toughest test for Northwestern's early season run.
Northwestern must play one of the country's best teams on the road, in a venue where the home team doesn't lose many games. Will the Wildcats pass their toughest test after an ambitious early season run?
Northwestern has four players that contribute heavily to this team's success, beginning with junior Miller Kopp . Kopp averages about 15 points per game, and is the 'shot-taker' for this Northwestern team. Boo Buie is a great player as well, averaging the most assists on the team to go along with 14 points per game.
Chase Audige and Pete Nance round out the top four, but it's Ryan Young that will need to step up big for the Wildcats. Young quietly averages 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Iowa rebounds the ball extremely well, so if Northwestern can get glass production from Young then they can earn more possessions and possibly control the pace of this game.
It will be fast-paced, so Ty Berry will need to contribute on defense as well. Berry averages about eight points a game, but he has six total steals (averaging about one a game). Northwestern has one of the best defenses in the nation, going up against a top-three offense. The Wildcats will need to play defense to win, and Berry has to be a big part of that to happen.
Betting Analysis – Iowa Hawkeyes
Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)
Points. Points. Points. That's what you can expect from the Iowa Hawkeyes who average 95.1 per game. Iowa scores the third-most points per game and has the third-highest offensive rating in the nation. The charge is led by Wooden Award leader Luka Garza , who averages a double-double.
Joe Wieskamp is the other threat for Iowa's offense, averaging 15.8 points per game with 6.9 rebounds. Between these two, Iowa is almost unbeatable. Recently, though, Iowa has dropped a few games which makes one wonder if the Hawkeyes are as unbeatable as originally thought? Yes, they are still pretty unbeatable - at least at home.
Iowa's two games lost were to Gonzaga and Minnesota, both on the road. Iowa plays much better at home and is a near lock more times than not. Although Iowa is basically unbeatable at home, this game is not the case (especially with a high spread). Northwestern has proven that they can beat good Big Ten teams on the road, so Iowa's role players will have to be on their game - specifically from the field.
CJ Fredrick , Jordan Bohannon , Pat McCaffery and even Jack Nunge can not have bad games - none of them. All four players listed are capable of knocking down big shots, so their timely effectiveness is going to be extremely crucial in this game. Garza and Wieskamp can only do so much together, so it will come down to these four players playing smart and consistent for an Iowa win.
Inside the Stats – Northwestern Wildcats
Inside the Stats – Iowa Hawkeyes
Key Players to Watch
What a difficult game to pick, in terms of a winner. This game will come down to rebounding, as it will lead to more possessions - ultimately more opportunities to score, while controlling the pace. Northwestern has the nation's 10th-best three-point percentage, while Iowa has made the 16th-most three-point shots - so scoring shouldn't be an issue.
Both teams average over 80 points per game, and so perhaps going into the point total market is the wise move to make here. Iowa should touch 80 at home, while Northwestern's efficient offense-to-defense ratio should keep them within reach. If Iowa can touch 80 in a closely-contested game, then playing the 12-3 O/U odds seems to make the most sense here.
Iowa has only failed to touch 80 points once this season, while Northwestern has touched 70 in all games played so far. The point total will be close, but assuming Iowa and Northwestern can score a few more points over 80 and 70, respectively, it should clear the 158.5. Also consider that Iowa's defense isn't very good, ranking 200th or worse in points allowed and defensive efficiency.
If the point total is too much (which it is high) for you, then maybe consider Northwestern to cover the large +12-point spread and hope their hot start doesn't burn out in Iowa. This is a very tough game to predict, mainly because of Northwestern's spontaneous success.
Between the two markets - playing the 12-3 O/U, Iowa 8-1 O/U, two top-20 offenses and Iowa's shaky defense - the point total going OVER seems to be the most logical bet entering this nightmare of a game to wager on.
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