Sunday college basketball odds, analysis and picks: Red-hot Notre Dame offense looks to continue torrid streak

Notre Dame's Prentiss Hubb, Rex Pflueger and John Mooney vs. Louisville, January 2020
Notre Dame's Prentiss Hubb, Rex Pflueger and John Mooney (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Covering the point spread in six of its last seven games, Notre Dame heads to Clemson Sunday evening as a 1.5-point underdog, capping off an exciting weekend of college hoops action.

The Fighting Irish offense has been heating up in recent weeks, as coach Mike Brey’s experienced group rounds into form heading into the stretch run of the ACC schedule.

The total has gone OVER in each of Notre Dame’s last six games, largely thanks to the fact that the Irish have scored at least 80 points in five straight. They get set to face a Clemson team that has scored a meager 44 points in each of its last two, but both of those efforts were on the road. The Tigers return home Sunday, where they have won four straight, including a 79-72 win over No. 7 Duke in mid-January.

Elsewhere, Rutgers and Wisconsin are also favored at home in Sunday Big Ten action. The Scarlet Knights have been one of the nation’s best cover teams in the betting market this season and are 11-point chalk against conference doormat Northwestern. Earlier in the day, the Badgers are laying two points to Ohio State in Madison.

Here are odds, analysis, trends and picks for some of Sunday’s marquee college hoops action, including both Big Ten matchups.

Also read: Updated NCAA Tournament odds, top 25 rankings

Notre Dame at Clemson (-1.5, 137.5)

Tip-off: 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT (ACCN)
Betting records: Notre Dame 14-8 SU, 11-9-2 ATS; Clemson 11-11 SU, 11-11 ATS
KenPom prediction: Clemson 68-67

Clemson is just 1-4 against the spread in its last five contests, and it gets set to take on a Notre Dame team that is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two programs. Dating back to last year, the Irish are just 3-14 SU in their last 17 road games, and they will likely need to win outright in order to cover the spread on Sunday.

Clemson’s strength is keeping its opposition off the offensive glass and preventing them from getting second-chance looks. According to Haslametrics, the Tigers have a rating of 6.90 vs. average opponents in potential points allowed off of second chances (No. 1 in the nation), allowing average opponents to convert just 3.4% of those second opportunities (ranked 36th).

Notre Dame doesn’t do particularly well on the offensive glass – its 29.1% offensive rebound percentage ranks No. 139 at KenPom – but the Irish are superb at taking care of the basketball, featuring the second lowest turnover rate in Division 1. Coach Brey’s team excels in keeping opponents away from the charity stripe, holding them to an average of just 19.7 FT attempts per 100 possessions, No. 1 in the country. If they can stay out of foul trouble at Littlejohn Coliseum on Sunday and get open looks on offense, then the Irish have a great chance to escape with an important road win.

Although OVER bettors have cashed in Clemson’s last five home games, the Tigers rank No. 281 in adjusted tempo at KenPom and make opponents work to put up a shot, holding them to 18.4 seconds per possession (No. 336). Look for Clemson to slow down the pace in this one, which should keep the Irish out of their rhythm.

My numbers lean to the UNDER here, but I do not want to get in the way of a Notre Dame offense that is clicking on all cylinders. Instead of taking a pregame position, this matchup is ripe for live-betting purposes. If early signs indicate that Clemson is having success slowing down the pace and frustrating the Irish on offense, then a good live UNDER opportunity may present itself.

Northwestern at Rutgers (-11, 130)

Tip-off: 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. CT (BTN)
Betting records: Northwestern 6-15 SU, 8-13 ATS; Rutgers 16-7 SU, 14-6-2 ATS
KenPom prediction: Rutgers 71-59

Rutgers is 12-2 ATS in its last 14 games and is an unbeaten 15-0 at home this season. The Scarlet Knights welcome a Northwestern team that has won just one of its last 12, going 2-5 ATS in its last seven.

The total has gone UNDER in nine of Rutgers’ last 12 and in six of Northwestern’s last eight.

Ohio State at Wisconsin (-2, 124)

Tip-off: 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT (CBS)
Betting records: Ohio State 15-7 SU, 13-9 ATS; Wisconsin 13-10 SU
KenPom prediction: Ohio State 62-61

Things fell off quickly for the Buckeyes after they got as high as No. 2 on the AP poll following an impressive win over Kentucky a few days before Christmas, but they will look to pad their tournament resume with a victory on the road at the Kohl Center on Sunday afternoon against a Wisconsin team that is very difficult to beat on its home floor.

The Badgers have been dealing with plenty of distractions over the past couple of weeks. Sophomore guard Kobe King, the team’s second-highest scorer, transferred from the program. Strength and conditioning coach Erik Helland resigned on Thursday after officials concluded an investigation regarding his use of a racial epithet in front of players.

Ohio State standout forward Kaleb Wesson (14.3 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game) should be able to have his way down low. This is a revenge spot for the Buckeyes, who lost 61-57 as 7.5-point favorites at home against the Badgers on Jan. 3. The arrow is point up for coach Chris Holtmann’s team, who have covered the spread in three consecutive games after failing to do so in seven straight. They have a great opportunity to escape Madison with a win on Sunday.

Pick: Ohio State +2

No. 19 Butler at Marquette (-3, 140.5)

Tip-off: Noon ET/11 a.m. CT (FS1)
Betting records: Butler 18-5 SU, 13-9-1 ATS; Marquette 16-6 SU, 14-8 ATS
KenPom prediction: Marquette 71-70

Marquette has a substantial rest advantage heading into Sunday’s early contest. Star point guard Markus Howard and the Golden Eagles haven’t played since last Saturday’s 76-72 win at home over DePaul. Butler also played last Saturday, losing 65-61 at home to Providence before rebounding Wednesday evening with a big 79-76 win at home against No. 10 Villanova on a last-second game-winning 3-pointer by senior guard Kamar Baldwin.

This is a revenge game for the Golden Eagles, who lost 89-85 in overtime at Butler on Jan. 24. Baldwin did very well in the first meeting, scoring 31 points in 43 minutes of action, but he may be in for a letdown spot after Wednesday night’s game-winner. Look for Marquette to have a plan for him on Sunday. The Golden Eagles beat Butler in both of their matchups last season, where Howard averaged 30 ppg.

Pick: Half unit on Marquette -3 (increase position at -2)

More Sunday college basketball lines

Cincinnati (-1, 134) at Connecticut
Samford at UNC Greensboro (-17.5, 145)
Evansville at Bradley (-12.5, 135)
Iona at Fairfield (-2.5, 128)
Niagara at Rider (-9.5, 145.5)
Manhattan at Quinnipiac (-1.5, 133)
Tulsa at Central Florida (-2, 126.5)
St. Peter’s at Monmouth (-4.5, 135.5)
Princeton (-3.5, 138) at Columbia
Pennsylvania (-5.5, 136) at Cornell
George Mason at Massachusetts (-1.5, 140.5)
Wichita State at Houston (-5, 134.5)
Valparaiso at Loyola Chicago (-8.5, 133.5)
Washington (-3, 137) at Washington State

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