The college basketball betting action goes on Monday, March 8, with the Horizon League Championship Tournament semifinals at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, so I’ve prepared the best Milwaukee Panthers vs. Cleveland State Vikings betting pick.
According to BetMGM Sportsbook, the Vikings opened as 4-point favorites with a total of 140.5 points. Back in January, they split a two-game home series against the Panthers, grabbing a 64-53 win as 3.5-point favorites and suffering an 81-80 defeat in overtime as 3-point favorites.
Milwaukee stunned Wright State in the quarterfinals
The Milwaukee Panthers (10-11; 7-10 Conf.) pulled off a massive upset in the Horizon League Championship Tournament quarterfinals. They outlasted the top-seeded Wright State Raiders 94-92 in overtime as massive 13-point underdogs, overcoming a 24-point lead in the final seven minutes of the second half.
It was a tremendous run by the Panthers who shot 42.7% from the field and 37.9% from downtown. Sophomore guard DeAndre Gholston accounted for 31 points, nine rebounds, and four steals, while senior guard Te’Jon Lucas finished with 25 points and five assists.
Milwaukee is undefeated in three straight outings after tallying five straight losses in February. The Panthers score 102.6 points per 100 possessions (170th in the nation) and surrender 105.8 in a return (258th). They are No. 232 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 206 in the KenPom rankings.
Cleveland State barely survived its quarterfinal matchup
The Cleveland State Vikings (17-7; 16-4 Conf.) needed triple overtime to outlast the Purdue Fort Wayne Mastodons in the Horizon League Quarterfinals, 108-104, failing to cover a 7.5-point spread. They struggled to cope with the Mastodons’ red-hot shooting but somehow found a way out of the trouble.
Purdue Fort Wayne went 16-for-36 from beyond the arc (44.4%), and the Vikings are 58th in the country in opponent 3-point percentage this season (31.3%). Cleveland State made 49.4% of its field goals and 33.3% of its triples, while senior guard Torrey Patton led the way and dropped 30 points on the Mastodons to go with 13 rebounds and four assists.
The Vikings are scoring just 101.2 points per 100 possessions (207th in the nation) while leaning on their defense and yielding 99.6 points in a return (125th). They are No. 164 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 157 in the KenPom rankings.
- 1-4 ATS in the last five games against Cleveland State
- 14-6 ATS in the last 20 games overall
- 5-1 ATS in the last six tilts played on Monday
This should be a very tight clash, and the stake is enormous for both teams, as the winner will reach the Horizon League finals and get the chance to fight for the Big Dance ticket.
The Vikings are a better defensive team than the Panthers, and that’s the reason why I’m taking Cleveland State to win and cover, though a 4-point spread could be too much in a game like this one. Still, I hope the Vikings’ defense will be a key factor down the stretch. Cleveland State is 4-1 straight up and ATS in its last five meetings with Milwaukee.
Pick: Take Cleveland State -4.0 at -110
The total has gone over in the Panthers’ last nine outings and eight of the Vikings’ previous ten games overall. Also, four of the last six encounters between the Panthers and Vikings went in the over, so I’m following the betting trends here.
The Vikings play good defense and average 66.3 possessions per 40 minutes (291st in the nation). However, Wisconsin prefers a much faster tempo, recording 70.5 possessions per 40 minutes (92nd), and considering their defensive flaws, the Panthers will try everything they can to speed up things against the Vikings.
Pick: Go over 140.5 points at -110