Wednesday’s action was highlighted by Providence and Marquette fending off challenges on the road, winning as underdogs at Xavier and Seton Hall, respectively, to put those two teams into the upper echelon of teams in the Big East along with Villanova. Our best bets were on-point with those predictions, but we fell short of a perfect night, as Davidson saw its 15-game winning streak snapped at home in an upset loss to VCU.
After the Big East’s best took care of business on the road, tonight sees several of the Big Ten’s top teams facing challenges away from home, but these teams are favored in doing so. We also have a look at another mid-major that’s been making noise this year (and the last several years) after we missed on Davidson last night.
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. Southern Illinois Salukis
The Bet: Loyola-Chicago -6
Loyola-Chicago and Southern Illinois play the second half of a home-and-home series between the schools tonight on the Salukis’ home floor after the Ramblers’ scored a 59-47 win at home on Tuesday night.
The victory marked a return to the win column by the Ramblers after losing at home to Missouri State over the weekend, which snapped a 10-game winning streak. Loyola-Chicago has also been solid on the road this year, going 4-0 away from home that includes wins over DePaul and Vanderbilt.
The Salukis, meanwhile, have dropped five of their last six games, including two of their last three at home. Both teams have a solid defense, allowing around 62 points each, but Loyola has a 12-point edge in offense, averaging 76 points compared to 64 for Southern Illinois. That average played out in Tuesday’s 59-47 win by the Ramblers that goes down as a push against the spread with Loyola being 12-point favorites.
They are six-point favorites at the Salukis tonight and have won five of their last six in the series. While they are not expected to win by a dozen like they did at home, we feel confident that they can win by half that amount on the road, especially if their defense plays as well as it did two nights ago against the same opponent.
(6) Purdue Boilermakers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes
The Bet: Iowa +2.5
This is a tight spread for a game featuring a top-10 team against an unranked opponent, but Purdue (16-3, 5-3 Big Ten) has been a tough team to back on the road this season despite all of their success, and Iowa has won five-straight at home and is 11-1 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season.
Outside of a three-game losing streak against solid teams (seven-point loss at Purdue, then losses to Illinois and Iowa State), the Hawkeyes (14-5, 4-4 Big Ten) have won three out of their last four games coming into this one. Purdue overcame a loss at Indiana by beating Northwestern by 20 at home on Sunday.
In the 77-70 win in December, Purdue didn’t have to contend with Iowa’s leading scorer and rebounder, as Keegan Murray missed that game. He’s averaging 22.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this year for the Hawkeyes, so that will be a wrinkle for the Boilermakers to have to deal with.
The Boilermakers have played just four road games, going 2-2 straight up and 1-3 against the spread. Iowa, meanwhile, is 8-4 ATS in their 12 home games. They have also covered in 11 of their last 15 home dates with Purdue. We see Purdue’s road struggles being too much here and them winning a one-possession game as the best-case scenario, so take Iowa and the points at home.
(11) Wisconsin Badgers vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
The Bet: Wisconsin -7.5
The Wisconsin Badgers have had nearly a week to stew over their 86-74 loss at home to Michigan State, and while they have to play on the road, the Badgers (15-3, 6-2 Big Ten) draw a Nebraska team that’s 6-13 overall and winless in the Big Ten (0-8).
The two teams are similar on offense, scoring around 73 points per game, but the Cornhuskers have one of the worst defenses in the nation, allowing 79 points per game–13 more than the Badgers are allowing. And it doesn’t help Nebraska that Wisconsin has scored over their average in six of their last seven games.
The Badgers have also been solid on the road this year, going 4-1 both straight up and against the spread, while the Huskers are 6-7 straight up and 7-6 ATS at home. Their last meeting last February was also in Lincoln, and Wisconsin won 61-48. We expect another double-digit win for the Badgers in this one as they get back on track following the MSU loss.
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