Wednesday’s Big Ten Predictions
The 2018 Big Ten Tournament begins play later today with a pair of first round games. Here’s our predictions for the first two games from Madison Square Garden.
No. 13 Illinois vs. No. 12 Iowa, 5:30PM ET (Big Ten Network)
According to oddsmakers at YouWager, this game is considered even. Neither team had a great year in the Big Ten, with Iowa being particularly disappointing. Iowa won the only meeting between these two this season, 104-97 in OT at Illinois on Jan. 11. The Hawkeyes have the potential to be somewhat dangerous in this tournament, as they average 81.6 points per game at a neutral site. If they can step up their defensive effort, their scoring ability should be a problem for teams. Illinois is averaging just 69.5 per game on offense at a neutral floor. I think their lack of scoring will be a problem today against Iowa. BIG TEN PREDICTIONS: IOWA EVEN
No. 14 Rutgers vs. No. 11 Minnesota, 7:55PM ET (Big Ten Network)
Oddsmakers are listing Minnesota as a favorite in this game, with the Gophers are getting odds of -2.5 points against Rutgers. Minnesota has owned this series for the most part, winning five of the last six meetings while covering the spread in four of the last five encounters. This season, Minnesota earned an 89-67 win over Rutgers at home on Dec. 3. Since then, the Gophers have had injuries pile up, leading to a lot of losses. Still, I like Minnesota today. Rutgers will have the most home-court edge of any team this week, but the Knights average just 55 points away from its home court this season. That won’t get the job done today. BIG TEN PREDICTIONS: MINNESOTA -2.5