Michigan vs. Nebraska: Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions (12/7/21)

Michigan vs. Nebraska Betting Odds 

Michigan and Nebraska are both entering Big Ten plays on downward trends.

For the Cornhuskers, that’s okay. Nebraska is still in rebuild mode with Fred Hoiberg, who is entering his third season in Lincoln. Wins should come soon, as this Nebraska team has more talent than in the past few seasons combined, but there’s no championship window opening in 2021.

For the Wolverines, that’s not okay. Juwan Howard is trying to defend his AP National Coach of the Year award, and if any Big Ten coach is winning that award right now, it’s Matt Painter.

Michigan Wolverines Odds

Michigan is now 5-3 with just two wins over KenPom top-100 teams (Buffalo and San Diego State). The Wolverines lost a tough one to Seton Hall and were crushed by Arizona and North Carolina.

A lot of those struggles are centered around Devante’ Jones, who hasn’t stepped into the point guard position that seamlessly.

Jones is averaging just 6.4 points per game with a 4.5:3.5 assist-to-turnover ratio. Behind his “leadership”, Michigan is 257th in turnover rate (21%) and 329th in non-steal turnover rate (12.2%).

Moreover, in half-court sets, Jones ranks in the 17th percentile in points per possession (.689). He’s been a complete liability scoring and a complete liability ball-handling. Everything that Mike Smith excelled in last season, Jones has flailed in.

Moreover, there’s some issues with the wing positions. Caleb Houstan is still young and will need more time settling into his role, but Brandon Johns Jr. shouldn’t have an 80 ORtg. Plus,

Eli Brooks and Huter Dickinson have carried the Wolverines as the returning upperclassmen, and Moussa Diabate has been excellent as a frontcourt rotation man. But it hasn’t been enough, and Howard’s team needs everybody working at full efficiency for his system to work.

Nebraska Cornhuskers Odds 

Even though Nebraska hasn’t recorded a win over a top-200 KenPom team, I’m excited for the potential of this team.

Alonzo Verge is sixth nationally in assist rate (43.0) while scoring 15 points per game. He gets the ball on 32% of the team’s possession and has been an excellent floor general leader. Verge needs to shoot better, but that’s not the most important thing for him.

Instead, Bryce McGowens has shouldered that scoring load. The true freshman has a 103.4 ORtg while scoring 17.3 points per game and shooting over 50% from the floor. He’s also ranked nationally in free-throw rate (49.6%) and shooting close to 85% from the charity stripe.

McGowens could also shoot better, and that seems to be plaguing the whole Nebraska offense. The Cornhuskers are shooting just 27.1% from 3, which is 325th nationally. Hopefully, we’ll see regression from deep, and the Huskers can win a few more games.

Prediction and Pick

My pick: Michigan -8.5 or better

Michigan might be in free-fall, but the Wolverines looked somewhat fixed against the San Diego State Aztecs. Michigan rolled to a 14-point victory as 8.5-point favorites.

In this spot, I believe it can cover the same spread.

In its last five matchups with Nebraska, Michigan is 5-0 straight up and 5-0 against the spread. In Ann Arbor, Lincoln, or at a neutral site, the Wolverines have dominated its counterpart.

And While Nebraska will search for 3-point regression, it won’t find it against a Michigan team that’s top-30 nationally in 3-point defense (27.2%). That spells trouble for Nebraska.

I believe Michigan rolls to a double-digit victory here on track to re-finding its identity.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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