Well the small Friday card of games didn’t fully disappoint as we get a fantastic TV game tonight on Fox Sports 1 between first place Michigan State and second place Wisconsin. The Big Ten is one of the most erratic leagues in all of CBB this season as top to bottom all the teams can pull off a win over any other team in it’s league on any given night. We’ve already seen it often but what we haven’t seen much of is the Road teams coming away with a straight up Victory. So far the Road team is only (6-35) this season in Big Ten play. Now we see a Wisconsin Badgers team that hasn’t won at Michigan State (Breslin Center) since 2004. The good news for the Badgers though is they are very hot of late, winning 6 of it’s last 7 games, the only loss by 1 point. They beat #37 Penn State by 9 and #9 Ohio State by 4 points, both on road. They also beat #17 Maryland on a last second thrilling 3 pointer at the buzzer.

One of the key handicapping tips is not to just look at the last game teams played or the entire season stats as both can be very misleading. In the Badgers case I’d only now look at the last 7 games. Why you might ask? Well because 7 games ago they finally got Ohio State transfer M. Potter (6-10, 250 pounds) into their lineup. His addition completely changes the entire landscape of this team and is just a gigantic addition. In less then 15 minutes per game in those 7 games he’s been allowed to play, he’s averaging (10.1) points and (6) rebounds per game. He helps contribute to an Offense that is super evenly balanced. All starters are scoring (8.2) – (13.9) points and now we add in Potter to a balanced mix. One good thing this year for the Badgers is their FT % is way up from a poor 64% last year to 77% this season. They play tons of close games due to their slow pace (351st out of 353 teams) so missing critical FT’s late in games can really be deadly.

The Michigan State Spartans (Sparty) are coming off their first Big 10 loss and wow did they throw in a huge clunker. They went to Purdue and got slaughtered, 71-42. That is not a typo. It’s by far one of HC Tom Izzo’s most embarrassing losses of his career. What in the Hell happened? Well look no further then Big 10 Player of Year, Cassius Winston, who had possibly his worst game of his career. He scored only 10 points, missed all 5 three point attempts and turned it over 9 times. He got calls for Bakery endorsements after that turnover factory. Look all teams have a clunker and this CBB season nobody is head and shoulders better then everyone else. The Spartans have not just won at Home this season, they have destroyed some really good teams this season at the Breslin Center (site of tonight’s game). They beat Minnesota by 16, Michigan by 20 and Illinois by 18. They beat Wisconsin last season twice. In the regular season on the Badgers home court they won 67-59. They beat them again in the Big 10 Tourney 67-55. Last season Sparty lost only once at Home at that was in OT. In 2018 they lost once only as well at home to rival Michigan. So it’s very, very rare to see the Spartans lose on their home court. Playing in front of 15k crazy fans can really boost a team and for the Spartans they really kick it into full gear at Home almost every time out.


First we look at Wisconsin and their Defense has really taken it up a few notches of late as they have allowed just 54, 49, 71 (only loss in last 7 games), 57, 37, and 48 points. They play a slower pace but they do not allow easy shots. They contest everything and do their best not to allow break out easy baskets. They only hit the 70 point mark once in this solid 7 game stretch, but strangely that’s the game the Lost. Wisconsin is one of the best coached teams in the country and they rarely get off script to the game plan. They simply battle you like the old days in the hard hitting Big 10. In this matchup they are definitely outmatched and out sized in backcourt. They must contain Sparty’s top gun Winston, who is averaging 18 points and 6 assists per game, all wins, in his 6 meetings vs. the Badgers. Although Sparty likes to play faster and more higher scoring games, they have actually won 4 of the 6 past games vs. the Badgers scoring under 70 points. One thing to be worried about if you like Wisky here is they have been hot of late with wins in 6 of 7, but they are just 23-80 in three tries the past 4 games. In fact they are down from 36% last year on three’s to now just 33%. Lucky for them here tonight the Spartans are also way down on 3’s from last year (38%) to now just the same 33% as the Badgers.

Michigan State played as bad as they ever will last game vs. Purdue. Winston played his worst game likely of his career in that blowout loss. You can fully expect them to come out fully focused from the start. Their crowd will energize them. Yes the Badgers have two nice Road wins of the only 6 by Big 10 Road teams this year. But like I always say it’s best to bet a team that isn’t in a mode of “never won” vs. an opponent in a long stretch. Let them get that first win out of the way. Then look to bet them.

When you look to bet this game, it’s hard to lay double digits against a grind it out team (Badgers here) as they simply won’t let you go at your pace. They never seem really rattled. Neither is shooting the 3 that well and so it’s hard to make a case for the “OVER 131 1/2”.  Tough too though to bet against Sparty at Home, who already has blown out 3 really solid teams this year at the Breslin Center. Friday night CBB schedule usually doesn’t throw us this type of nice bone to watch. We are getting a rare treat of two really good 2020 teams and I expect a bounce back win here by Sparty. But regardless of their blowout wins so far at Home, I can’t lay double digits to Wisky. I’d expect more of a 6-8 point win by Sparty here with the game falling about 5-6 points shy of the Total.

Enjoy tonight’s game and be sure to check out some of the RED HOT cappers like: THE NETWORK here, who have been crushing the bookmakers the past few weeks with all their posted Free Picks. Become a MEMBER CLUB person now and take advantage of all ESB “Free Picks” and other great giveaways too.

Have a winning weekend ahead with all your wagers.


Ps- coming soon both Previews of the two NFL Title games this weekend.

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