Big 10 foes will battle when the Penn State Nittany Lions (11-5, 1-2 Big 10) clash with the Northwestern Wildcats (9-6, 1-2 Big 10) at Bryce Jordan Center. The games Over/Under (O/U) has been set at 139.5 points with Penn State opening as a 6-point favorite. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. ET on Friday, January 5, 2018.
Northwestern Wildcats at Penn State Nittany Lions ATS Preview
The Wildcats fell to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in their last outing, 70-55. Dererk Pardon had a solid game for Northwestern, leading the team in scoring with 17 points on 6-for-18 shooting. Nebraska did a fantastic job of making free throws (15-17; 88.2 percent). Northwestern, meanwhile, had an offensive rebounding percentage of 45.8 (above their season average of 27.4).
In the Nittany Lions last matchup, they were defeated by the Maryland Terrapins, 75-69. Mike Watkins led Penn State in scoring with 17 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Maryland had a free throw rate of 0.434 (above their season average of 0.313). Penn State, on the other hand, held the Terrapins to an offensive rebounding percentage of 25.7 (below their season average of 37.0).
Penn State appears to have the advantage on the defensive side of the ball. The Nittany Lions rank 52nd in effective field goal percentage allowed (0.464), while Northwestern is 193rd in effective field goal percentage (0.511). Furthermore, the Wildcats commit the 39th-fewest errors in the NCAA (turnover percentage of 16.5 percent), while the ball-hawking defense of the Nittany Lions causes the 45th-most (opponents turnover percentage of 22.6 percent).
Of Northwestern’s 13 games that accepted bets, seven have finished under the O/U total, while 9 of Penn State’s 12 games have finished under the O/U total. The Nittany Lions come into this game with much better straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records. They are 11-5 SU and 6-5-1 ATS, while the Wildcats are 9-6 SU and 5-8 ATS.
Watkins has been playing at a high level recently for Penn State, averaging 12.4 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.2 blocks over the last five games.
This is the first time these teams will meet this year, after the Wildcats won the sole contest last season, 87-77. The Wildcats offensive rebounding percentage was their largest strength over the Nittany Lions. Northwestern had a rate of 37.8, while Penn State posted a mark of 30.8.
Northwestern Wildcats vs. Penn State Nittany Lions Betting Prediction
Predictions: SU Winner – Northwestern, ATS Winner – Northwestern, O/U – Under
- The Wildcats rank 42nd in rebounds allowed per game (32.0) while the Nittany Lions rank 66th (33.0).
- Penn State ranks 16th in three pointers allowed per game (17.6) while Northwestern ranks 23rd (18.0).
- Northwestern is 2-4 ATS on the road with 3 unders, 2 overs and 1 push.
- Penn State is 4-2 ATS at home with 6 unders and 0 overs.
- Penn State ranks 15th in steals per game (9.1) while Northwestern ranks 161st (5.5).
- The Nittany Lions rank 33rd in assists allowed per game (10.9) while the Wildcats rank 115th (13.2).
- Northwestern averages 4.8 blocks per game, which ranks 40th in the nation. Penn State ranks 102nd in blocks allowed per game (3.7).
- Penn State is 1-2 ATS with 2 unders and 1 over in their last five games.
- Over their last five games, Northwestern is 1-3 ATS with 2 overs and 2 unders.
- The Nittany Lions average margin of victory in their last five games has been 14.2, up from 12.9 for the season.
- During their last five games, the Wildcats have scored an average of 79.4 points per game (3.5 above their season average) and allowed an average of 69.0 points per game (1.5 above their season average).