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College Basketball Best Bets, Feb. 18: Indiana vs Northwestern, Minnesota vs Rutgers

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down two Big Ten battles between Northwestern at Indiana and Minnesota hosting Rutgers.

Northwestern at Indiana (-1.5): O/U 137.5

Both meetings last year resulted in two Northwestern wins by three combined points and prior to that, three of the last five overall meetings had a three-point margin or less. I expect another close contest, but think the home team is the clear side.

Northwestern is 2-6 in true road games this year with five-straight losses by three or more points (two losses in OT). Indiana is 11-3 at home with losses to Kansas, Purdue, and Penn State. Indiana has not lose back-to-back home games all year, and the Hoosiers lost to Penn State in the last time out.

The Wildcats are 1-6 in Big Ten road games and rank bottom three in defensive efficiency, offensive rebounding, defensive three-point and two-point percentages, plus offensive two-point percentage.

Northwestern has operated as a completely different team on the road than at home, so I played Indiana on the ML at -130 odds and would go out to -140.

The Hoosiers are also wearing its "Fear of God" alternate adidas jerseys for this game, so that should add to the home excitement...at least I hope so.

Pick: Indiana ML (Risk 1.5u)

Rutgers at Minnesota (-4): O/U 131.5

Rutgers is one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten as they have won four-straight games against Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Northwestern.

While that is the most impressive stretch of the season and the Knights are playing its best ball, their opponents are also in the midst of their worst stretches.

Wisconsin is 1-5 in its last six, while Maryland is 1-4 in its past five, and Michigan 1-8 in the last nine. Northwestern lost six straight road games, and was on the road at Rutgers there, so not to surprising Rutgers went 4-0.

Minnesota is coming off two straight losses at Iowa and at Purdue. Minnesota was on a three-game winning streak before that and has gone 13-3 at home on the year (4-2 in Big Ten home games).

The Gophers beat the Knights by one at home last season and three points the year prior. This is the best Minnesota team in that span. I grabbed Minnesota -4 at -115 odds and wouldn't go further as this opened at -2.5 to -3.

Pick: Minnesota -4 (1u)

Season Record: 32-25 (56.1%) +4.5u

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