Nebraska to Cover vs. Penn State; Northwestern-Iowa Going 'Over'

Jay Pryce

Sunday, February 25, 2018 1:01 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 1:01 PM UTC

Nebraska is a 1-point favorite to top visiting Penn State, while host Iowa is spotting Northwestern 1.5 points. What are the best options for your NCAAB picks?

Sunday College Basketball: Penn State vs. NebraskaFree NCAAB Pick: Nebraska -1Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Penn State (19-11 SU, 14-11 ATS) closes out its best regular season under seventh-year head coach Patrick Chambers, winning its 19th game earlier (Feb. 15) than in any season in the Big Ten era (1992-93). The Nittany Lions also matched a program high three conference road wins in the span (Iowa, Ohio State, and Illinois). They need another one here. Despite ranking No. 29 in the country according to KenPom, many analysts believe Chambers’ team will need a victory today and an improbable run to the conference championship game to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. They own an RPI of 84. Nitanny Lions fans, like many bettors, can’t wait for the committee to implement new metrics for Big Dance invites. Penn State is deserving.

The Nittany Lions have been riding an elite defense all season. It ranks 20th in adjusted efficiency nationally. The offense, however, is roaring of late. Penn State is 4-2 SU and ATS in its last six games, averaging 74.2 points per game. It is hitting 50.3 percent of its shots, including 39.7 percent from behind the arc.

The betting market can’t catch up to Nebraska (21-9 SU, 21-7 ATS). It has covered the spread 21 times this year, more than any team in the nation. Since December 4, it is an unbelievable 17-2 closing out the number on the college basketball odds board. A rock-solid defense is the difference-maker. The Cornhuskers yield 67.6 points per game on 41.5-percent shooting in this stretch. They have allowed just four opponents (Penn St., Minnesota, Iowa, and Texas-San Antonio) to surpass their projected team total, one aided by overtime.

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🙌🕺 #FridayFeeling

— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) February 23, 2018

The home team has won the past eight meetings in this series. The Cornhuskers will keep the streak alive here on Senior Day. Penn State is sinking just 64.6 percent from the charity stripe over the past calendar month. This will bite them on the road late in a tight contest. With your NCAAB picks, lay the point with the Cornhuskers and cash.

Sunday College Basketball: Northwestern at IowaFree NCAAB Pick: 'Over' 147.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Combined, Northwestern (15-15 SU, 11-16 ATS) and Iowa (12-18 SU, 9-15 ATS) have lost their last 11 contests. For the Wildcats, the offense is sputtering. They are posting 60.2 points per contest in regulation time over the past five games, shooting a lowly 39.5 percent from the floor. Senior point guard and primary playmaker Bryant McIntosh missed two of these contests with a shoulder injury, and likely played at less than 100 percent in the others.

The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, winless in their last six, can’t stop opponents from from putting up big numbers. They are surrendering 85.2 points per game in the past calendar month, allowing a 50.6 field-goal rate. Stopping foes in high-efficiency areas is a chore. Iowa yields a 41.7 opponent 3-pointer rate in this span. For the season, it allows a 64.0 percent success rate on shots at the rim, well above the 59.9 national average.

Iowa would have trouble slowing down a poor high school outfit right now. Opponents have reached 80 points in 12 of the last 14 contests. The Wildcats, despite their recent scoring woes, threaten the number here. For my NCAAB picks, I think this back-and-forth contest sails past the 147.5-point game total posted on the college basketball odds board.

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