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Picks, predictions for Minnesota vs. Nebraska in Big Ten First Round on Wednesday

The Big Ten has been loaded all year, but not because of these two teams.

Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Jamison Battle reacts to his shot against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second half at Williams Arena. Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 Big Ten Tournament caps their first day of play with an opening round matchup between the No. 14 Minnesota Golden Gophers and No. 11 Nebraska Cornhuskers. Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 8:00 p.m., and the game will air on Big Ten Network.

Let’s take a look at the odds and lines on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some picks.

Minnesota vs. Nebraska odds in Big Ten First Round

Spread: Nebraska -5.5
Over/Under: 138
Moneyline: Nebraska -245, Minnesota +205

Minnesota (8-21, 2-17 Big Ten) is the worst team in the country at free throws (61.5%), and has lost 13 of their last 14 games. Junior guard Ta’Lon Cooper (9.8 ppg, 6.1 apg, 4.1 rpg) can’t do it all himself, and despite his prowess the Gophers still turn it over on nearly one-in-five possessions.

Nebraska (16-15, 9-11 Big Ten) caught fire down the stretch, winning five of their last six and picking up Quad 1 wins over Rutgers, Maryland, and Iowa over the last month. Fred Hoiberg’s team has leaned heavily on Derrick Walker (13.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.8 apg) during that turnaround, and if the regular season ended in May instead of March they’d certainly be an NCAA Tournament team.

The winner of this game gets No. 6 Maryland in tomorrow’s second round matchup.

The Pick Nebraska -5.5

Why is this line so close? These are two teams trending in complete opposite directions, and you can make the case that via the merits the Huskers are one of the top-half teams in the Big Ten via current form. One team wants to be here, and the other doesn’t. That generally turns into a shellacking in conference tournaments.