Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:47 AM

Northwestern vs. Wisconsin Predictions, Odds

  • January 20, 2021
  • By Thom Cunningham

The Northwestern Wildcats look to end their losing streak with a road trip against the Wisconsin Badgers Tip is set for 9 p.m. (ET) and will air on the Big Ten Network from Madison, Wisconsin.



Northwestern-Wisconsin Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Wisconsin -12
  • Money-Line: Wisconsin -650 Northwestern +475
  • Total: 135.5

Odds Subject to Change

Wisconsin is the home favorite, given a -12-point spread against the struggling Wildcats. Wisconsin hasn't seen much success covering this season however, only covering six of 14 games this season. Northwestern has only covered five of 11 games this season.

The point total is set at 135.5, which both schools tend to go OVER on more times than not. Wisconsin has gone OVER the total in eight of 14 games this season, while Northwestern has gone OVER in seven of its last 11 games.


Betting Analysis – Northwestern Wildcats

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-6
  • ATS: 5-6
  • SU - Home: 5-3
  • SU - Away: 1-3
  • O/U: 7-4

Northwestern is in current free fall mode, losing five straight games as the defense continues to get worse. The Wildcats have seen their points allowed per game go up over the last five games, now 72.2 which ranks 231st in the nation.

The offense can score though, as Northwestern will probably try to outscore opponents moving forward to win. Miller Kopp is one of four players that average a double-digit point total for Northwestern, as Pete Nance rebounds.

The issue with Nance is that he is having to play the center portion for Northwestern, which he is undersized in. His height allows him to be paired down low, but his build is nothing like a traditional big man that can stop the likes of Kofi Cockburn's, Luka Garza's and Trevion Williams'.

This mis-match down low is a reason for Northwestern allowing so many points to good Big Ten offenses. The Wildcats need to rely on jump shooting (52nd-best three-point percentage in the nation), and passing the ball to open shooters (24th nationally in assists per game).

The unfortunate truth for Northwestern is that their defense will hold them back the longer the season progresses. Although Northwestern can score (77.9 points per game ranks 75th nationally), they won't win many shootouts against good offensive teams with the defensive struggles seen over its last five games. Wisconsin can, and will exploit this.

Betting Analysis – Wisconsin Badgers

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 11-3
  • ATS: 6-7-1
  • SU - Home: 9-1
  • SU - Away: 2-2
  • O/U: 8-6

For as good as Wisconsin is, they are beatable. The slow pace of play may actually help Northwestern keep pace for a majority of the game. The Badgers aren't an offensive juggernaut, so its possible Northwestern can win this game based on only offense.

Wisconsin's defense is no slouch though, allowing 62.1 points per game which ranks 28th in the nation. The Badgers are extremely efficient on both sides of the court as well, ranking within the top 59 nationally for both offense and defense efficiency ratings.

D'Mitrik Trice has taken over as the leading scorer of this team, although Micah Potter and Brad Davison are equally as important in scoring. Aleem Ford has come on strong in recent games, but the lack of production from Nate Reuvers is what sets this team back from being elite.

Reuvers averages only 9.4 points per game which ranks fifth on the roster, a disappointment from a Wooden Award contender entering the year. The Badgers have done enough to get by without Reuvers playing on an elite level, but unless he begins to produce high numbers this Wisconsin team seems to be more of an upset alert than a deep run contender in March.

The Badgers are experience, talented and gritty. The simple fact remains that the team could be better than what they have shown this season, and it all revolved around more production from the senior Reuvers.

Inside the Stats – Northwestern Wildcats

  • PS/G: 77.9 (75th)
  • PA/G: 72.2 (229th)
  • Off Rtg: 109 (68th)
  • Def Rtg: 100.9 (227th)

Inside the Stats – Wisconsin Badgers

  • PS/G: 73.7 (146th)
  • PA/G: 62.1 (29th)
  • Off Rtg: 109.8 (58th)
  • Def Rtg: 92.4 (61st)

Key Players to Watch

  • NW - Miller Kopp (13.5 PPG)
  • NW - Chase Audige (12.3 PPG)
  • WIS - D'Mitrik Trice (15 PPG)
  • WIS - Micah Potter (12.3 PPG, 7 RPG)

Northwestern-Wisconsin Predictions

There's no reason to go against the Badgers in this home game, clearly the better team with more depth. The Northwestern offense is solid though, so don't expect a blowout loss for Northwestern, which is what they've seen in recent games.

Even in a double-digit defeat against Iowa, the Wildcats were able to score points. Expect Northwestern to touch 60 points despite a solid defense from Wisconsin, while the Badgers should touch 70 based on Northwestern's defense. Looking at the odds as well, p[laying the point total OVER seems to be the best bet entering this game (teams are combined 15-10 on the O/U this season).

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