- #19 Michigan is an 8-point road favorite versus Nebraska on Christmas Day (Dec. 25, 6 pm EST)
- The Wolverines enter play winners of six straight
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
There will be no shortage of sports to consume on Christmas Day, as in addition to NFL and NBA, there will also be Big Ten college hoops to sweat. The third of four conference games tips off at 6 pm EST, and features #19 Michigan versus Nebraska.
#19 Michigan vs Nebraska Odds
|Michigan Wolverines||-8.0 (-110)||-385||Over 147.0 (-110)|
|Nebraska Cornhuskers||+8.0 (-110)||+295||Under 147.0 (-110)|
Odds taken Dec. 24th at FanDuel.
Unsurprisingly, the Wolverines opened as a hefty 8-point favorite. Michigan enters play with a perfect 6-0 record, while the Cornhuskers sit at 4-4, after suffering a 14-point loss to #9 Wisconsin on Tuesday night.
Nebraska All Smoke and Mirrors
Nebraska entered play on Tuesday averaging 81.6 points per game, a number significantly skewed by blowout wins over dreadful competition. They beat McNeese State (ranked 265th) and Doane (unranked), by a combined 93 points, scoring at least 102 points in both outings.
They showed their true colors on Tuesday however, putting up just 53 points versus the Badgers, on 18-of-54 shooting.
Final from Madison. pic.twitter.com/wib6HJDHk3
— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) December 23, 2020
Wisconsin did everything they could to allow the Cornhuskers to seize control of the game, including missing 15 of their first 16 shots from the floor, but Nebraska couldn’t capitalize.
Nebraska is now 0-2 versus ranked competition this season, and has committed a whopping 34 turnovers in those two contests. Life won’t get any easier against Michigan, who are once again playing defense at an elite level.
ELITE – that’s @EliJBrooks on defense.#GoBlue 〽️🏀 pic.twitter.com/PNA3HxQ83A
— Michigan Men’s Basketball (@umichbball) December 13, 2020
The Wolverines rank 13th in the nation in field goal percentage allowed (35.9%) and have held its last five opponents to an average of 64.6 points.
Michigan Boasts Balanced Attack
At the other end of the court, balance has been the key to Michigan’s strong offensive start. The Wolverines are shooting 51.6% from the floor through six games, averaging 82.3 points per outing.
Five players are producing at least 9.5 points per game, led by Freshman Hunter Dickinson. The 7-foot-1 center is averaging 15.7 points, 7.3 boards and 1.7 blocks per contest, and is fresh off the best game of his collegiate career.
Hunter Dickinson scored 20 points to help lead @umichbball to a 62-58 win over Penn State.
Highlights from the win: pic.twitter.com/igVnN0nEds
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) December 13, 2020
Dickinson poured in a career-high 20 points against Penn State, leading Michigan to a hard fought 62-58 win. His performance earned him Big Ten Freshman of the week honors for the second straight week, and he’s now scored at least 12 points in every game he’s played this season.
Dickinson is set-up for another big game against the Cornhuskers, who don’t feature a single player north of 6-foot-10 on their roster.
Wolverines Crush Cornhuskers
In addition to the Wolverines, eight other Big Ten programs rank inside the top-30 in KenPom’s efficiency metrics. There’s an argument to be made that the Big Ten is the strongest conference in college basketball, but one of the teams holding them down is Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers rank 119th by KenPom, which is 52 spots lower than any other Big Ten program. They’ve played three legitimate opponents (Wisconsin, Creighton and Georgia Tech) and lost by double-digits each time. I expect a similar result versus a more experienced, and more talented Michigan team.
Pick: Michigan -8.0 (-110)