Northwestern vs. Boise State Prediction, Picks & Odds | NCAA Tournament

Written by: Michael Savio
Published March 13, 2023
6 min read

The #10 Boise State Broncos (24-9) and the #7 Northwestern Wildcats (21-11) will meet on Thursday night at 7:35 PM EST in the first round of the NCAA Tournament's West Region on truTV. These two teams are evenly matched and should put on a show at the Golden 1 Center Arena in Sacramento, CA.

With both teams' sights set on the final Four, you can expect a fierce battle to kick off March Madness. If you need help picking this game, fear not! Below is our Boise State vs Northwestern previews, prediction, and best bet.

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Northwestern vs. Boise State Prediction for the 2023 NCAA Tournament

#7 Northwestern Wildcats

The Wildcats finished second in the Big Ten despite losing three of their final four games. They lost in overtime to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament Championship quarterfinals, likely costing them a higher seed. Still, it's a mistake to count these Wildcats out. 

With wins against Indiana (twice) and Purdue last once, Northwestern has shown they can play with anyone. In fact, they went 4-1 against ranked teams during the regular season. Their lone loss was a one-point heartbreaker against Auburn.

Northwestern's strength has been its defense, as they rank in the top four of the Big Ten in opponent scoring, steals, and blocks. That level of play has continued through their losing skid, allowing opponents to score 70 or more points just once in their last eleven games.

Their offensive production has left much to be desired, but they take care of the ball well. Northwestern ranks second in the Big Ten in turnovers with just 9.0 per game, which is vital for success in the NCAA Tournament.

Key Players & Stats

  • Offensive Stats

    • 12th in the Big Ten in scoring (67.7 PPG)

    • 14th in field goal percentage (40.6%)

    • 12th in three-point percentage (32.1%)

    • 9th in assists (12.9 APG)

    • 2nd in turnovers (9.0 TO/G)

    • 2nd in free throw percentage (75.1%)

  • Defensive Stats

    • 2nd in Big Ten in opponent scoring (62.5 PPG)

    • 3rd in opponent field goal percentage (41.2%)

    • 11th in opponent three-point percentage (33.9%)

    • 9th in rebounding (34.6 RPG)

    • 2nd in steals (8.0 SPG)

    • 4th in blocks (4.2 BPG)

  • Key Players

    • Boo Buie: 17.1 PPG / 4.5 APG / 1.2 SPG

    • Chase Audige: 13.8 PPG / 2.4 SPG

    • Ty Berry: 8.5 PPG / 4.7 RPG / 1.4 SPG

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#10 Boise State Broncos

The Broncos find themselves as the tenth seed in the West Region for March Madness after losing three of their last five games. Two of those losses came against a Utah State team that also made the NCAA Tournament, though both were by double digits. 

They were able to cement their NCAA Tournament bid thanks to a massive win against a top-25 team in San Diego State. The Broncos also have wins against other tournament teams, including Utah State, Nevada, and Texas A&M. 

Like the Wildcats, Boise State relies on its defense to win games. Their play has been second only to San Diego State in the Moutain West Conference, helping cover their struggles on offense.

Their lack of scoring results from having a short bench. All five of the Bronco’s starters are averaging over 10 points per game, but no other player averages over four. That means their starting lineup accounts for 88% of their scoring. This show that their top-heavy roster can score only when their top five are healthy and avoid foul trouble. 

Key Players & Stats

  • Offensive Stats

    • 6th in the Mountain West in scoring (72.2 PPG)

    • 5th in field goal percentage (45.5%)

    • 2nd in three-point shooting (36.5%)

    • 10th in assists (11.2 APG)

    • 3rd in turnovers (11.2 TO/G)

    • 6th in free throw percentage (73.5%)

  • Defensive Stats

    • 2nd in the Mountain West in opponent scoring (64.3 PPG)

    • 1st in opponent field goal percentage (41.3%)

    • 3rd in three-point percentage (30.9%)

    • 5th in rebounding (35.6 RPG)

    • 8th in steals (5.1 SPG)

    • 9th in blocks (2.9 BPG)

  • Key Players

    • Tyson Degenhart: 14.3 PPG / 5.4 RPG / 53.7 FG%

    • Max Rice: 13.9 PPG / 4.6 RPG / 1.0 SPG / 41.5 3PT%

    • Marcus Shaver Jr: 13.5 PPG / 6.1 RPG / 1.6 SPG

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Caesars Sportsbook Odds, Previews, Picks, Best Bets for Boise State vs Northwestern

Boise State vs Northwestern Odds

  • Spread: PICK -110

  • Moneyline: Boise State -110 / Northwestern -110

  • Total: 128.5 -110

Boise State vs Northwestern Preview

We expect this West Region matchup to be a defensive slugfest coming down to the final minutes. Both teams are among the best defenses in their conferences, holding opponents to low-point totals and field goal percentages. That should be on full display on truTV on Thursday as they face off against offenses that have struggled for consistency all season.

These teams did not meet in the regular season or share any common opponents.

Boise State vs Northwestern Prediction

We believe the difference in this game will come down to the three-point shot. While these teams are similar statistically, there is a mismatch when we look at their three-point numbers. Boise State shoots the ball effectively from three, with their top two shooters making over 40% of their attempts. Northwestern was bottom four in the Big Ten in both shooting and defending the three this season.

Another problem for Northwestern is that both of their top scorers are stuck in shooting slumps. Buie hasn’t made more than 30% of his shots in his previous five games, while Audige is averaging 8.6 points during that same span.

These factors will lead to Boise State to win their NCAA Tournament first-round matchup on Thursday.

Boise State vs Northwestern Best Bet

In this NCAA Tournament West Region matchup, we are taking the Boise State moneyline (-110 at Caesars Sportsbook).

How to Watch Boise State vs Northwestern

  • Location: Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, CA

  • Game Time & Date: Mar 16, 2023, at 7:35 PM EST

  • TV Network: truTV

  • Streaming: NCAA March Madness Live

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Michael Savio

Sports Betting Analyst

Expertise:
Gambling News
MLB
NCAAB
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Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor of Political Science
Favourite Sportsbook: Caesars Sportsbook
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Experience:
3 years
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