Friday is typically reserved for the smaller conferences. It’s their time to get some attention from handicappers. Not many people are watching these games for any other reason. If you’re not a fan or went to that particular school, the vast majority of viewership is from gamblers. There is one game tonight that will garner some attention, though, and it’s not a small conference game.
The Wisconsin Badgers are in New Jersey for a Big Ten showdown against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Wisconsin is coming off a humiliating loss against the Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday. Michigan was in full control of that contest, as they won with ease by a score of 77-54. The Wolverines went into halftime clear of Wisconsin by 17 points, 40-23.
Wisconsin was never in that game in Ann Arbor. Instead of going home for a creampuff in their next outing, the Badgers will be on the road at Rutgers on Friday night. Following tonight, Wisconsin will be back home for their next two games against Northwestern and Ohio State. Ohio State could pose some problems, but Northwestern should be a win if they want to show up to play. The Badgers certainly didn’t bring their best effort with them to Ann Arbor.
Having said that, Michigan is a really good team that probably still isn’t getting enough credit around the country. As long as Hunter Dickinson stays healthy for Michigan, it’s hard to see the Wolverines going away. Despite the loss for Wisconsin, they’re still sitting in a good spot at 10-3 on the season. I do worry that the Badgers don’t have any marquee win in their portfolio, though.
Wins over Louisville and Minnesota is nice, but they don’t have a win over a top-15 opponent yet. I will give them credit for the 85-48 blowout at home against the Cardinals, though. That was awfully impressive. However, they haven’t shown to be that good on the road yet. Rutgers is a beatable team, but no pushover. The Scarlet Knights enter Friday night with a record of 7-4 following a 79-68 loss against Ohio State on Saturday. Head below for our free Wisconsin vs. Rutgers pick on January 15, 2021.
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights NCAA Betting Odds:
Wisconsin vs. Rutgers Prediction:
Wisconsin has shown up as an excellent team in spots, but they have a chance for a signature win against Michigan and fell several miles short. Then there were games where Wisconsin didn’t look like a Top 25 team, never mind one of the tenth best teams in the nation. At the time, a 67-65 loss against Marquette on the road didn’t look too bad, but we’ve come to discover that Marquette is not good.
Along with struggling versus Marquette, the Badgers weren’t in good form against a vanilla Maryland team on December 28. The Terrapins went into Madison and went back home with a 70-64 win. The Badgers are 126th in the NCAA with 74.8 points scored per game. Their defense has been the catalyst for them, with 62.7 points against for 32nd in the NCAA. Their effort on the road has been less than adequate, though.
Wisconsin has allowed 73.3 points per game on the road, while scoring just 68 points per game. That equates to a record of 1-2, which includes that bad loss against Marquette on the road and the blowout recently against Michigan. Michigan is Michigan, but they have no excuses for the Marquette loss.
Rutgers has been at their best at home, where they own a record of 6-2. The Scarlet Knights have scored 80.8 points per game in New Jersey. They’ve been shooting the lights out with a field goal percentage of 49.3%. Conversely, the Badgers are connecting at just a 39.3% clip from the field on the road.
The Scarlet Knights did not look sharp in their last two games. Let’s give them a break for falling to Iowa, 77-75, it was a good effort for Rutgers at home versus a very good Iowa team. However, a 68-45 loss against Michigan State in East Lansing, and 79-68 loss against Ohio State wasn’t ideal.
I can see Rutgers getting something going tonight, though. Wisconsin at minus-three looks like bait, especially after their big loss against Michigan. Public perception has to be that they have to bounce back. In their last three trips to New Jersey, the Badgers struggled in all three, going to overtime in 2017, and then losing the next two trips, most recently a 72-65 final in 2019. The Badgers might be ranked, but haven’t looked too special to me this season. I’m on the home dog catching three.