Free Picks: Michigan Wolverines vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Michigan vs Rutgers NCAA Basketball
Michigan Wolverines vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights, NCAA, Crisler Center

The Michigan Wolverines (14-1,, 9-1 Big Ten) have just one blemish on their schedule this season, and for the most part they’ve dominated the competition — with 12 of their 14 wins coming by double digits. The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-7, 8-7 Big Ten) hope to avoid that sort of fate on Thursday, and in the meantime maintain the torrid pace that has them as winners in five of their past six games.

Can Rutgers do anything to slow down Michigan?

The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines have been good enough this year to receive all sorts of nauseatingly positive remarks in this story. Their adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency ratings are both top 10 in NCAA Division I, they’ve blown out nearly all their opponents, they haven’t lost at home … etc., etc.

If you’ve been following college basketball, or you happened to glance at the rankings lately, you know Michigan is supremely talented. That’s not what matters here. What matters is, can anyone stop them?

Namely, can unranked Rutgers stop them? They’ll certainly try on Thursday, venturing into Michigan’s Crisler Center, hoping to emerge with something no other team has — a win. We don’t know the NCAA basketball odds just yet, but it’s safe to assume Michigan will be favored; and they’ll likely be giving anywhere between six and 11 points on the spread. Those are the parameters we’ll use to make our BetPicks prediction.

The Wolverines have missed some games this year due to COVID-19 protocols, but they’ve made the most of the matchups they’ve played in. This past Sunday marked their first game in over three weeks, but they managed to take down No. 21 Wisconsin on the road, 67-59. Not bad for a team that was presumably a bit rusty.

In their lone defeat, by a 75-57 margin on the road against Minnesota, the Wolverines made just half of their free throws (as a team they average 76.8 percent) and 27.3 percent of 3-pt. shots. They also turned the ball over 20 times — their most in a game since November.

Rutgers is a completely average team when it comes to forcing turnovers (19.3 percent of possessions, 153rd in D-I) and they’re average at defending the 3-pt. shot, too (32.8 percent allowed, 130th in D-I). That’s probably not going to be enough.

The Scarlet Knights have been rolling of late, with five wins in their past six games — including a narrow win over that pesky Minnesota team. But the Wolverines are an obvious money line play, and bettors should consider taking them on any spread at 10 points or fewer.

Stats

  • Michigan is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The UNDER has cashed in seven of the Wolverines’ past 10 games
  • Rutgers is 4-6 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The UNDER has cashed in seven of the Scarlet Knights’ past 10 games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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