While Wisconsin has one of the best defenses in the land and could keep Penn State in the 50s on Tuesday, this low total seems to be over-adjusted more for perception than reality. Go ‘over’ the low total.
There is an abnormally small posted total in the Big Ten Conference on Tuesday night when the Wisconsin Badgers (17-5 overall, 4-2 away) pay a visit to the Penn State Nittany Lions (10-12 overall, 8-4 home) at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, PA at 8:00 ET in a game televised nationally on the Big Ten Network.
Wisconsin is ranked 20th in the country in the human polls, but the Badgers get a lot more love on the Pomeroy Ratings, where they are ranked second in the country overall behind only their conference mates from Ohio State. The Badgers are keyed by ranking second in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency at 0.81 points per possession and they lead the country at effective field goal percentage allowed at a ridiculously low 39.5 percent.
Penn State does not seem well quipped to do much to deal with that Wisconsin defense, ranking 320th out of 345 Division I teams in offensive efficiency, hitting on only 42.8 percent of its two-point shots (305th) and 30.8 percent of its three-point shots (289th). The Nittany Lions are not a good free throw shooting team either, at just 67.1 percent (224th).
However, with all of that being said, it appears this total has been over-adjusted downwards, probably in no small part due to the ‘under’ being 12-7 in all Wisconsin games on the NCAA Basketball odds this season. A look at season averages though shows that the ‘over’ appears to have value at this low posted number.
The point total at Bookmaker Sportsbook is 111 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -110.
While it is true that Wisconsin wins games with its defense, it is not as if the Badgers are inept offensively. The Badgers rank 33rd in the land in offensive efficiency and they do not turn the ball over, ranking second in turnover percentage at an absurdly low 14.9 percent. Now by no means are we calling Wisconsin an offensive juggernaut, but it is averaging 65.2 points per game this season and should be right around there again tonight vs. this Penn State defense.
In fact, all Wisconsin games have averaged a combined total of 114.8 points this season and the Badgers’ true road games have averaged 115.6 points, which is why this posted total of 111 seems like an over-adjustment on the bookmakers’ parts.
We mentioned the struggles of the Penn State offense this season, but another reason why the Nittany Lions are in last place in the conference with a 2-7 record in Big Ten play is its defense, which ranks 103rd nationally in efficiency and a dismal 258th in effective field goal percentage against at 51.3 percent.
Just about the only saving grace is that the Nittany Lions rank 12th in defensive rebounding percentage, but that loses significance when opponents are allowed to shoot a high field goal percentage. Thus, all Penn State games are averaging 127.4 points this season and all of its home games have averaged 131.5 points.
Now we do agree that this game will not be quite that high scoring, but something like Wisconsin 65, Penn State 55 does not seem unlikely and that score is nine points higher than this posted total. Thus, we say go ‘over’ this low posted total Tuesday night.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Wisconsin, Penn State ‘over’ 111 (-110)