Wisconsin is a profitable 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games versus ACC foes, 11-2 ATS in its last thirteen games off a win and 10-2 ATS in its last twelve games versus teams with a winning record, including 8-2 ATS versus .601 or greater opposition. The fact that the Irish is favored in this Sweet 16 game is unjustified in light of the fact that they are a money-burning 3-9 ATS in their last twelve NCAA Tournament games and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games versus .501 or greater opposition.
More importantly, my primary math model actually favors Wisconsin by 1.5-points, while my secondary model favors the Badgers by 2.5-points. In short, the existing line cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Wisconsin’s success is predicated upon a suffocating defense (18th in scoring defense) that is allowing just 63.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 74.7 points per game. The Badgers are also limiting opponents to just 63.2 points per game on the road this season and will not have a difficult time shutting down a Notre Dame attack that is 5.3 points per game better than average (75.6 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 70.3 points per game). The Badgers are also ranked 31st in personal fouls per game (16.9) so they defense well without committing dumb fouls.
The one concern for Wisconsin backers is its three-point field goal defense (37.5%), which could be exploited by a very good three-point shooting Irish squad (37.2% 3-PT, including 38.2% on the road).
The other issue facing Wisconsin is its subpar offense that is 1.8 points per game worse than average this season (68.1 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 69.9 points per game). Even more concerning is the fact that the Badgers are averaging just 63.0 points on the road (39.6% FG) and 62.6 points over their last five games (39.0% FG).
But, I expect the Badgers to get some open looks against a Notre Dame stop unit that is ranked 139th nationally in scoring defense (70.5), 135th in field goal percentage defense (.428) and 307th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.372). Finally, Wisconsin is 5-1 ATS in its last six NCAA Tournament games, whereas the Irish are 2-8 ATS in their last ten NCAA Tournament games as favorites. Take Wisconsin plus the points in this Sweet 16 matchup!
Oskeim Sports’ NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Best Bet: Wisconsin (+2) (-110)