The Northwestern Wildcats meet the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Thursday night, so here’s the best betting pick for their Big Ten Conference showdown at Williams Arena in Minneapolis along with the latest odds on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Minnesota is undefeated in four straight matchups with Northwestern and will look to extend its streak as a 5-point fave with a total of 142.5 points. The Golden Gophers sit at the 11th spot of the Big Ten standings, three games ahead of 13th-placed Wildcats and just 1.5 games behind seventh-seeded Maryland.
The Wildcats are still winless in 2021
The Northwestern Wildcats (6-14; 3-13 Conf.) are riding a horrible 13-game losing streak, covering the spread just three times in the process. Four of their last five defeats came against the top 25 teams in the country, while the Wildcats are 0-8 straight up and 3-5 ATS over their previous eight outings on the road.
Northwestern is coming off a heavy 68-51 loss to No. 21 Wisconsin this past Sunday. Sophomore guard Boo Buie led the way with 19 points on 8-for-15 shooting from the field, but all his teammates finished in single digits. Junior forward Pete Nance (11.5 PPG, 6.6 RPG) and sophomore guard Chase Audige (12.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG) combined for just eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.
The Wildcats are No. 96 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 74 in the KenPom rankings. They rank 108th in the country in points scored per 100 possessions (106.5) and 50th in points allowed per 100 possessions (95.0).
The Golden Gophers are coming through a rough patch
The Minnesota Golden Gophers (13-10; 6-10 Conf.) are on a three-game losing streak following an embarrassing 94-63 defeat to the No. 5 Illinois Fighting Illini. They got beaten hard on both sides of the ball even though the Gophers went 8-for-16 from downtown. Minnesota’s defense fell apart and allowed Illinois to make 56.1% of its field goals on a whopping 27 assists.
The Gophers are No. 61 in the NCAA NET Rankings and No. 49 in the KenPom rankings. They tally 112.3 points per 100 possessions (37th in the country) and surrender 96.6 in a return (69th).
Minnesota leans heavily on junior guard Marcus Carr who’s averaging 19.0 points, 3.9 boards, and 5.0 assists per contest, while junior forward Liam Robbins adds 11.7 points and 6.6 rebounds a night. The Gophers rank 321st in field goal percentage (40.3%), but they score the fifth-most points from the charity stripe per game (17.3).
- 3-9-1 ATS in the last 13 games overall
- 8-3-1 ATS in the last 12 games played on Thursday
The Golden Gophers have won only two of their last eight games and desperately need to finish the regular season on a high note in order to keep their March Madness hopes alive. In their last four games of the season, the Gophers won’t take on heavyweights, so the clash against Northwestern seems perfect to launch a winning streak.
The Wildcats are a solid defensive team but their self-confidence is ruined after 13 losses in a row. Therefore, I’m backing the Gophers to win and cover, looking for their defense to bounce back from that ugly performance against Illinois.
Pick: Take Minnesota -5.0 at -110
I’m not expecting a high-scoring affair, as both teams have to bring their best defensive game if they want to win, especially the visitors. Also, neither side prefers to play at a very fast pace, so give me the under on the totals.
The under is 4-2 in Northwestern’s last six games, 10-4 in Minnesota’s previous 14 contests, and 11-6 in the last 17 meetings between the Wildcats and Gophers.
Pick: Go under 142.5 points at -110