The Wisconsin Badgers were looking very strong entering Big 10 play and then their leading scorer, Tyler Wahl went down with an injury and the team spiraled. Over their last four games, all in conference, they have a three-point win over 7-9 Minnesota, a 10-point loss to Illinois, a four-point loss to Michigan State at home and a 63-45 drubbing at the hands of Indiana. The Badgers need Wahl back badly and he’s probable to return tonight, but even so he won’t be the best player on the court against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
The Nittany Lions just pounced on that same IU team and beat them 85-66. Let’s check out the odds for 12-5 Penn State in Madison to take on 11-5 Wisconsin.
Penn State vs. Wisconsin odds, spread and total
Penn State vs. Wisconsin prediction and pick
Tyler Wahl getting back on the court will be huge for the Badgers, but Jalen Pickett will be the most dominant force in this game. Pickett is leading Penn State with 17.6 points per game, 7.4 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 1.2 steals, and he does all of that as a 6-foot-4 guard.
Around him, Penn State has amassed a team of three-point shooters, Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk are both well over 40% on high volume, as is Myles Dread. The Nittany Lions, spaced out small-ball style had previously been susceptible to opposing big-men, but freshman, Kabba Njie has stepped up a lot lately and held Trayce Jackson-Davis to just 14 over the weekend.
Surprisingly for all of the guards that PSU runs out, they don’t play at a fast pace, they’re 272nd in possessions per game, compared to Wisconsin, who is about as slow-paced a team as you’ll find at 329th. So, it’ll come down to who is more efficient with their opportunities and Penn State is 20th in offensive efficiency. Wisconsin is 174th.
Sure, Wahl’s 13.2 points and 6.4 boards coming back into the lineup will be huge, but his post touches won’t be enough to offset the 11th best three-point shooting team in the country if they catch fire from deep.
Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change