Marquette (6-3) has started off the year strong, putting up points like they’re going out of style. A big test awaits in the 12/9 college basketball free pick however as the Golden Eagles travel to play state powerhouse Wisconsin. The Badgers have had some uncharacteristic early season struggles but they could get on track Saturday at the Kohl Center as Marquette is playing their first true road game of the season – even if it is only five hours away.
Is Marquette Ripe for the Upset?
The Badgers have been down to start the 2017/18 campaign, but oddsmakers have still made UW -6 point favorites for the 12/9 college basketball free pick. The Golden Eagles have been solid lately, winning four of their last five games. There was an upset loss in that mix, a 66-73 home loss to Georgia when Marquette was -6 favorites. Other than that, the only other blemishes on the MU resume this season are losses to #21 Purdue and #6 Wichita State. Does this mean Marquette is ready for the outright win in the 100th anniversary of this rivalry?
There have been many memorable moments, including the first game played in 1917 which ended in controversy: pic.twitter.com/GjfiYbWHYq
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) December 7, 2017
The Golden Eagles definitely have the offense to get the job done. Marquette has scored 85+ points in five of their last seven games and average 82.6 on the season. Compare that to the offensively challenged Badgers who have scored over 70 points just once in their last eight games. 5’11” Markus Howard of Marquette could be huge in the 12/9 college basketball free pick. In the past three games the guard has scored 34,29, and 33 points – that’s about half of what the Badgers score as a team.
Can Wisconsin’s Scoring Keep Up?
Oddsmakers have set the 12/9 college basketball free pick total at 140 but who knows what we’re going to get in this contest. Marquette can score, but the Badgers are more slow-it-down and play defense oriented. UW has the #39 defense in the country giving up just 63.6 points per game (Marquette allows 77.6). Then again the Badgers offense is one of the worst in the country (314 of 347) scoring 66.4 points per game. We’ve got to factor last year’s game in too – a 93-84 UW shootout win out of nowhere.
Wisconsin has lost six of their last eight games with the most devastating being a 58-83 home loss to Ohio State three games ago as -7.5 favorites. The Badgers really just can’t score the basketball, especially lately. UW has eclipsed 60 points just once in the last three games which includes a 37 point output against Virginia on 11/27. Ethan Happ had 23 points the last time out against Temple, but he had just 16 points combined the two games prior. Wisconsin could be facing some injury issues too:
The #Badgers are going to be really thin today. No sign of D’Mitrik Trice or Kobe King during pregame warmups.
— Jim Polzin (@JimPolzinWSJ) December 9, 2017
12/9 College Basketball Free Pick Betting
It’s not ideal that about 70% of the public is on Marquette +6 in this tilt (especially since the line hasn’t moved), but how do you side with the Badgers right now? UW is a young team that starts three 1st/2nd year players. Happ looks disinterested at times and probably misses his old running mates from back-to-back Sweet 16 teams. Of course everything could change for the Badgers at home in a rivalry game, but today feels like it’s Marquette’s time. The Golden Eagles are 5-1 ATS their last six meetings and are 4-1 ATS the last five in Madison. The road team is 8-3 ATS in the last 11 while the ‘dog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven. Maybe the Golden Eagles ML +230 is the play, but at least take the points.
Pick: Marquette Golden Eagles +6