Minnesota guard Marcus Carr (5) plays against Purdue during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
- Minnesota is an 11.5-point favorite over Nebraska on Monday (Feb. 8th, 8 pm EST)
- The Cornhuskers have lost 23 straight conference games dating back to last season
- See below for analysis, odds and a betting prediction
The Big Ten is loaded this season, but not all of its teams are enjoying successful seasons. Two teams mired in losing streaks square off on Monday (Feb. 8th, 8 pm EST) as Nebraska visits Minnesota.
The Cornhuskers (4-9, 0-6 Big Ten) have lost six straight, while the Golden Gophers (11-7, 4-7 Big Ten) have dropped three in a row, and five of their last six overall.
Nebraska vs Minnesota Odds
|Nebraska Cornhuskers||+11.5 (-108)||+610||Over 146.5 (-115)|
|Minnesota Golden Gophers||-11.5 (-112)||-900||Under 146.5 (-105)|
Odds taken Feb. 7th at FanDuel.
Despite the recent struggles of both programs, Minnesota opened up as a sizeable 11.5-point favorite, in a game that featurs a total of 146.5.
Since starting the season 9-1, the Golden Gophers are just 2-6 since the start of January, and blew an excellent chance to get back into the win column on Thursday at Rutgers.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Minnesota Falters Down the Stretch
Minnesota held a 4-point lead over the Scarlet Knights with just 2:22 remaining, but committed a turnover and missed its final four shots to allow Rutgers to steal a victory. The loss was the Golden Gophers’ sixth straight away from home, and since upsetting #7 Michigan three weeks ago, they’re 0-3 and have been outscored by 37 points.
— Minnesota Men’s Basketball (@GopherMBB) February 5, 2021
Marcus Carr led the way against the Scarlet Knights with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, while Liam Robbins poured in 16 points and grabbed 10 boards. Carr ranks fourth in the Big Ten in points per game (19.9) and second in assists (5.3), but Minnesota as a team is one of the conference’s least efficient offenses.
That Carr will DRIVE! 🚗@GopherMBB | #Gophers pic.twitter.com/rlRewmAOJm
— Minnesota on BTN (@MinnesotaOnBTN) February 5, 2021
They rank last in field goal percentage, and 13th from beyond the arc, but their solid rebounding affords them plenty of second chance opportunities. That was the case last Thursday, as they took 15 more shots than Rutgers in a losing effort.
Defensively, they’re 10th in points allowed and opponent field goal percentage, and rank ninth at defending the 3-ball. Those pedestrian numbers should give Nebraska a puncher’s chance in this matchup, despite its horrific shooting performance last time out.
The Cornhuskers shot 36.2% from the field and 17.6% from 3 versus Michigan State en route to a 66-56 defeat. They missed 13 of their 24 free throws, were outrebounded by 13, and have now dropped all six conference games this season. In fact, dating back to 2020, they’ve dropped 23 straight Big Ten contests, and haven’t beaten a conference foe since January 7th, 2020.
Going to keep working. pic.twitter.com/QshiQd4x9w
— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) February 7, 2021
The game versus the Spartans was Nebraska’s first in nearly a month due to a COVID outbreak within the program and the rust certainly showed. Trey McGowns led the way offensively with 13, while Lat Mayen added 10. Leading scorer Teddy Allen was held to just 3 points, and missed all but one of his 10 attempts.
Offensive struggles are nothing new to the Cornhuskers however, as they rank 13th in the Big Ten in points per game and field goal percentage. Defensively it’s not much better, as they surrender the most points per outing in the conference, and only two programs allow a higher field goal percentage to enemy shooters.
This is a get right spot for Minnesota, but 11.5 points seems way too high as does the 146.5 total. Seven of the Golden Gophers’ 11 conference games have stayed under the total this season, while they’re just 3-4-1 ATS as a home favorite.
Nebraska is certainly no ATS crusher, but they are 3-3 in Big Ten outings and 2-2 as an away underdog. The under is 3-1 in the four road games they’ve been an underdog in this season, and even despite the long layoff last time out, they still covered as a 12.5-point underdog. Now, with full game under their belts to shake off the rust, I expect a more competitive showing from them in this matchup against an overrated Minnesota team.
Picks: Nebraska Cornhuksers +11.5 (-108), Under 146.5 (-105)
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.