Fresh off of a big win in Iowa, the No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers host Lehigh at the Kohl Center on Thursday night in a non-conference matchup. According to DraftKings, the Badgers are favored by a whopping 23 points with the game total sitting at 133. Outside of the contest versus UW-Green Bay, this is the largest point spread in a Badger hoops game this season. Let’s dig in.
(Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.)
ATS Pick: Lehigh +23
I hate to do it, I really do, but take Lehigh and the points. The Badgers’ schedule, despite their positive results, has to take a toll on them at some point. Over Wisconsin’s last seven games, they are 5-2 outright, and 6-1 against the spread. Those seven games have been decided by a COMBINED 21 points. After three tight games against an in-state rival in Marquette and two conference opponents in Maryland and Iowa, it would not surprise me in the slightest if Gard’s crew came out flat.
23 is a lot of points. The Badgers are far and away the better team in this matchup, but Lehigh is decent enough to keep it close. Dating back to the beginning of last season, the Badgers have only won a total of three games by 23 points or more. The opponents in those games: St. Francis-Brooklyn, UW Green-Bay, South Dakota.
UW doesn't blow teams out. It’s very rare. Wisconsin currently ranks No. 251 in the country in terms of points per game. The Badgers have been absolute wagons against the spread this season (currently 8-2 ATS with four outright wins as underdogs), and Lehigh struggles to cover (2-5 ATS), but I was shocked to see a 23-point spread here. Just feels like way too many points. Trusting my gut.
Over/Under (133)? Stay away
I’ll be entirely honest, I have absolutely no read on this total. Five of Lehigh’s eight games have cleared 133, and only half of Wisconsin’s games have covered the number.
The Mountain Hawks haven’t played in almost two weeks. Their legs are fresh, which plays right into their style of play. Lehigh currently ranks No. 35 in the country in possessions per game, meaning even if they don’t shoot the ball incredibly well, they are going to generate a ton of opportunities to put the ball in the hoop. They’ve scored 52 points or more in every contest this season.
That being said, Wisconsin is the best defensive team they’ve seen all season. I expect Lehigh to struggle with Wisconsin’s defense out of the gate, but they’ve had almost two weeks to prepare and study film. Wisconsin plays slow. They’ll slow the game down and try and play this one at their pace.
If I had to lean, I think I’d take the under, but stay off of the total.