The college basketball season continues in the US with a Christmas Day triple-header featuring four ranked teams.
We have betting picks and predictions for Wisconsin vs. Michigan State, Michigan vs. Nebraska, and Iowa vs. Minnesota.
Christmas Day College Basketball Picks
Wisconsin Badgers vs. Michigan State Spartans @ Breslin Center
Both the Badgers and Spartans have made impressive starts to their season and it should make for a quality game on Saturday.
Wisconsin comes into this game having scored an emphatic 85-48 win over Louisville at home, but this is their only loss came away from home against Marquette.
It will be much harder to win on the road, especially against a Spartans side that is 6-1 and eager to bounce back from their first loss.
Michigan State rattled off six consecutive wins to start the season before losing 79-65 to Northwestern. It was a shock loss for Tom Izzo’s men, but they are always well-prepared for every game they play.
It isn’t easy to split these two teams but Wisconsin has the better defensive stats. They allow only 58.1 points per game, which ranks as one of the best teams in the NCAA. They score four points less than Michigan State and they have eight less assists per game.
Playing on the road could be the determining factor for the Badgers, so we’re prepared to go with the Spartans in this situation.
They should be the slight favourites with bookmakers when markets opened and strong money should come for them throughout the week.
Bet: Michigan State Spartans to win
Michigan Wolverines vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Pinnacle Bank Arena
The 19th ranked Michigan Wolverines have made a perfect start to their season, but they have played every game at home.
This is their first trip away from their home court and they are facing a team that is battle-hardened after playing tough games to date.
Nebraska lost consecutive games to Georgia Tech and Creighton, which are two teams that are projected to be quality teams this season.
Teddy Allen is top scoring for the Cornhuskers with 18.3 points per game and Delano Banton has been a machine on the boards and assists. He averages 7.7 boards per game and 5.7 assists, so his teammates see plenty of the ball.
Michigan relies heavily on Hunter Dickinson, who is shooting at just under 70% from the field and he averages 7.3 rebounds per game. Look for Michigan to feed the big man and run their offense through him.
Both teams matchup evenly and there won’t be much between them. However, we think the Wolverines have more x-factor this season and they are a confident side.
Playing on the road is the only concern but if they start well, it shouldn’t make a difference.
Bet: Michigan Wolverines to win
Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers @ Williams Arena
Iowa has made a terrific start to the season with a 7-1 record and that is mostly thanks to superstar centre Luka Garza.
The future NBA draft pick was set to play in the NBA, but decided to play another season with the Hawkeyes. It has proven to be a good decision as the European has netted an average of 29.3 points per game and 9.1 rebounds.
Iowa as a team is scoring just under 100 points per game, which is outstanding in the college ranks. They also have a solid defense which allows only 72.9 points per game, so Minnesota will be up against it on Saturday.
Minnesota has also made a 7-1 start to the season after getting past Saint Louis last week. Their only loss came to Illinois, but that was their only test.
The opposition doesn’t get much tougher than Iowa and their only loss came to #1 Gonzaga, and it was a competitive game for the most part.
There has been some support for Minnesota to pull off an upset at home, but Iowa is a professional-style team that has a superstar on the roster.
We expect Iowa to be too strong down the stretch in what should be an intriguing game.
Bet: Iowa Hawkeyes to win
After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. Coupled with his love of US sport, Daryl’s picks have been featured on various websites around the world and viewed by millions of readers. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NBA, NFL, and college sports. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.