The undefeated Virginia Cavaliers (5-0) are up to #3 in the country, and have already beaten a Big Ten powerhouse with a 70-61 victory over Illinois last Sunday to win the Continental Tire Main Event as a +1.5 underdog. That was on a neutral site in Las Vegas though, and the Crisler Center is going to be rocking for Tuesday’s Virginia at Michigan betting matchup as part of the ACC / Big Ten Challenge.
The Wolverines (5-1) have been favored in all six of their games this season, but are catching a +3.5 line on Tuesday night. Michigan really should be 6-0 with a 121st ranked strength of schedule, but public betting is still split almost 50/50.
Virginia Looks Legit
Nobody would have blamed Virginia for a bad showing in Las Vegas, as their was a mass shooting on their campus just a few days prior in which three members of the football team lost their lives. Instead of being distracted, the Cavaliers instead beat #5 Baylor 86-79 and then handed #19 Illinois their first loss of the season.
UVA returned home from Vegas to pick up an easy 72-46 win over Maryland – Eastern Shore falling a bit shy of the -27.5 line. Jayden Gardner had a breakout 26 points in that game, but once again you have to look at the competition.
What to look for in the Virginia at Michigan betting matchup is if UVA’s impressive defense can travel to a true road game. The Cavaliers are allowing just 57.6 ppg which is 21st in the nation but they’ve also played three home games (as -24 or better favorites) and two neutral site contests.
Michigan Needs a Statement Game
It’s been a decent start to the season for 5-1 Michigan, but they failed to show up in an 87-62 loss against Arizona State in the Legends Classic as -7.5 underdogs, the biggest Sun Devils win over a ranked opponent in school history (UM was #20 at the time).
The loss to ASU can be waved off as tournament game and playing on back-to-back nights, but it’s Michigan’s return home that really has fans nervous for how Tuesday night’s contest is going to turn out. The Wolverines needed OT to get past Ohio 70-66 as -14.5 favorites and then had a closer-than-expected 78-68 win over Jackson State as -21.5 favorites.
Michigan has the big man to be the equalizer here in 7’1, 260 pound Hunter Dickinson and he’s off to an 18.5 ppg average on the season. Jett Howard – the son of Michigan coach Juwan Howard – has scored in double digits in five of the first six games of his freshman season and is second on the Wolverines with a 15.2 ppg average.
Free Virginia at Michigan Betting Pick
While Virginia’s defense has been potent this season, an underrated aspect of this team is their offense. UVA has hit 44.6% of their three-pointers on the year and are 5th in the KenPom adjusted offensive ratings despite being 83rd in points scored (78.0). The question does remain still, will that offense travel in their first true road game of 2022/23?
Dickinson should be able to dominate in the paint here, and Howard can show he can be the real deal as he heads in to what will be the biggest game of his college career. Michigan hasn’t looked great lately, but +3.5 points at home doesn’t feel right.
Free Pick: Michigan +3.5