Wisconsin is 7-1-1 against the spread in its last nine NCAA tournament games, but faces a big number for its opening-round game against 16th-seeded Coastal Carolina Friday night in Omaha.
Chanticleers-Badgers Betting Odds
The NCAA Tournament odds opened Wisconsin at right around -19.5 for this game, with a total of 129. Many books then bumped the Badgers to -20, and the total to 130.
Going by Sagarin's PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com the Badgers should be favored by 22 points for this game.
Those who believe CC might become the first 16 seed to upset a No. 1 seed could get +2625 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.
Chanticleers-Badgers: The Match-Up
Wisconsin began this season as the favorite to win the Big Ten, and did just that, going 16-2 in a conference that sent seven teams to the Big Dance. The Badgers then knocked off Michigan, Purdue and Michigan State (in overtime) to win the Big Ten tournament. So UW is playing in the NCAA for the 17th consecutive season.
Wisconsin has won six in a row, and 16 of its last 17. But as the Badgers have faced increasingly tough spreads they're only 9-12-1 ATS over their last 22 contests.
With wins this season over, among others, Boise State, UAB (which pulled the first big upset of this NCAA Tournament when it beat Iowa State Thursday), Georgetown, Oklahoma and Buffalo, Wisconsin is 13-2 SU, 8-7 ATS against teams that made the Dance.
On the Cinderella side of this match-up Coastal Carolina won the Big South last year, and the conference tournament, and gave Virginia a very tough time in an opening-round NCAA tournament loss last March. This season the Chanticleers began as the favorite to win the Big South again, got upset in their season finale, costing them a share of the title, but then won the conference tournament again, knocking off NC-Asheville, Gardner-Webb and Winthrop on successive days to earn their second straight Big Dance invite.
Earlier this season Coastal Carolina lost at UCLA 84-71 but covered at +15; a few weeks later the Chanticleers upset an SEC team on its home floor, beating Auburn in Auburn 58-54; and two weeks after that they took Ole Miss to the limit in Oxford, falling 71-68 but covering at +8.
Throw in the cover last March against Virginia and CC is 3-0 ATS in its last three games against NCAA tournament teams.
Chants-Badgers Key Stats
Coastal Carolina, with five guys averaging between 10 and 13 PPG, is shooting 44 percent from the floor this season, while holding opponents to 39 percent FG shooting, which ranks in the top 25 in the country.
Wisconsin is shooting 48 percent from the floor and 76 percent from the FT line, while holding foes to 42 percent shooting.
Chants-Badgers Betting Trends
CC games are averaging 133 total points this season.
Wisconsin is leaning toward the UNDERS by a 19-15 margin, as Badgers games are averaging 128 points.
Chanticleers-Badgers Free Pick
Wisconsin is very likely to win this game and meet whoever wins between Oklahoma State vs. Oregon, but it shouldn't take Coastal Carolina for granted. Virginia did last March, and trailed at the half. The Chanticleers are also an experienced bunch that shouldn't be fazed by playing a big-time foe. We like the dog and the points for our NCAA Tournament picks.
Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Coastal Carolina +20 at Bodog