The race for the Big Ten title is far from over, and Thursday’s clash between the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines and the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes will paint a better picture of how the rest of the conference’s picture will pan out in the home stretch of the 2020-21 NCAA basketball regular season.
The Wolverines are looking to keep a firm grasp of the top spot in the standings. However, the Hawkeyes have strung together some quality wins themselves to shoot up the leaderboards in an instant.
That being said, Thursday’s ranked-versus-ranked matchup is one battle that will definitely live up to its huge billing and certainly merits a few nice wagers or two.
Let’s check out each team’s betting background along with the latest College Basketball odds, expert preview, and prediction.
Iowa vs. Michigan Game Information
- When: Wednesday, February 24th, 2021, 7:00 PM ET
- Where: Crisler Center, Ann Arbor, Michigan
- TV: ESPN
- Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network // W4 102.9 (Michigan)
- Live Stream: WatchESPN
- NCAA Basketball Odds: Michigan -200 / -4.5 (-111) / Under 155.5 (-104)
Why Bet on the Iowa Hawkeyes?
Don’t look now; the Iowa Hawkeyes are making a late-regular-season push at the most opportune time, having won four-straight games entering Thursday’s game.
On Sunday, the Hawkeyes dispatched Penn State with a 74-68 victory. The Nittany Lions were the fourth consecutive conference rivals that Iowa has defeated for the past week or so, including other Big Ten standouts Wisconsin and Rutgers.
In fact, the Hawkeyes were the ones who knocked the Scarlet Knights and Badgers down a peg or two in the standings, with the former eventually losing their AP Top 25 ranking in the process.
Top NBA prospect Luka Garza remains unstoppable, as the graduating center continues to build his case as the runaway winner of both the Wooden and Naismith Awards at the end of the 2020-21 college basketball season. Garza scored 23 points and hauled in 11 rebounds in the win over Penn State. The big man is averaging 24.7 points scored per game this season, all the while shooting a cool 56 percent from the field.
In essence, the Hawkeyes’ offense will be hard to contain for the Wolverines this Thursday. Iowa is second in the nation with 19.6 assists per game and fourth with 86.4 points per contest. That being said, it’ll probably take more than limiting Garza’s numbers to put a damper on the Hawkeyes’ streak.
Why Bet on the Michigan Wolverines?
Even though the Hawkeyes are on a four-game roll, the Michigan Wolverines remain the team to beat in the Big Ten with an even more impressive five-game win streak to date.
Michigan head coach Juwan Howard is finding plenty of success during his second year guiding the Wolves, who just defeated their long-time rival Ohio State this past Sunday, 92-87. That win will prove to be instrumental for the team, as U-M now holds a 1.5-game lead over the Buckeyes in the Big Ten standings.
Breakout freshman center Hunter Dickinson led Michigan on Sunday with 22 points and nine rebounds. It’ll be fascinating to witness how Dickinson will be able to match up with Iowa’s Garza in the paint and vice-versa.
The Wolverines have lost just one regular-season game thus far, and that was to another conference foe in then-No. 23 Minnesota back on January 17. With that in mind, they shouldn’t be overconfident this Thursday going up against a suddenly-streaky Iowa side with a stellar big man that can rival their own.
Iowa vs. Michigan Betting Trends
- Iowa is 5-3 on the road this season (4-5 ATS).
- The point total has gone under in all four of the Hawkeyes’ most recent road games.
- Michigan is a perfect 11-0 at Ann Arbor this season (8-3 ATS).
- Five of the Wolverines’ 11 home games saw the point total take the under.
- Michigan is 5-2 against Iowa since 2018 (4-3 ATS).
- The Hawkeyes have only won two of nine games at played Ann Arbor since 2009 (SU/ATS).
Iowa vs. Michigan Expert Betting Predictions
Strictly speaking record-wise, the advantage is seemingly on Michigan’s side. On the other hand, Garza is playing lights out and is virtually carrying Iowa on his back to huge success.
That being said, a split between bettors going with either the more balanced team or the superstar player-led side is to be expected. Either way, one can’t go wrong with picking either the Hawkeyes or the Wolverines this Thursday.
Perhaps placing stakes on the point total would be the right way to go instead. Both are high-scoring teams that are entering a shootout for Big Ten supremacy, so chances are relatively high that Thursday’s bout will eclipse the O/U threshold despite what the sportsbook trends would suggest.
*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.