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Michigan at Purdue

Big 10 Basketball Pick

1/24/12

For Tuesdays NCAA Basketball play of the day we'll go to the Big 10 and a matchup between two teams in the thick of the Big 10 race, Michigan at Purdue. Purdue opened as a -5 point favorite at 5 Dimes with a total of 129. Both teams are off losses with Michigan dropping a slim 2 point decision at Arkansas while Purdue was obliterated at Michigan State by 25 points.

There's obviously quite a bit on the line tonight. You have the Big 10 race and of course you have the NCAA tournament hopes of both teams. If it's possible that one of these teams could be more desperate than the other, it would have to be Michigan. The Wolverines are still searching for that quality road win. Actually, they are still searching for their FIRST road win. They won a few games on neutral floors, but no true road wins.

Sure, 15-5 looks good on paper, but Michigan played all the way through January 5th, 15 games, without playing a true road game. Now we'll find out what this team is made of as 4 of the next 5 and 7 of their last 10 games will be on the road and includes trips to Ohio State, Indiana and Michigan State.

Purdue will be motivated to bounce back after that 25 point setback on Saturday, but also adding to the motivation will be that Michigan is ranked 20th while Purdue comes in unranked. So, plenty of motivation to go around for both of these squads. Note that Purdue has won 6 straight at home over Michigan by an average margin of 15 points.

Our model has Purdue winning, and covering the 5 point spread by a score of 67-60. Close. If we dig a little deeper and run the model using only the last 7 games, we come up with a much better outlook for the Wolverines. In that scenario we actually have Michigan winning. This time of year, we like to put emphasis on not only what a team has done season to date but also how they are playing right now. Teams get hot this time of year and can be very profitable to ride.

We won't call Michigan "hot" just yet,  but their recent performances against good teams is a big plus. They knocked off Minnesota, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Michigan State, all at home and lost 2 point decisions to Indiana and Arkansas on the road. The line looks to be drifting higher, favoring the Boilermakers, with some -5.5's popping up as this is being written. With any luck, the number will keep rising as we're going to go ahead and take Michigan here in a game we think they can pull off. Michigan +5.5 or more

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