Lehigh vs. Wisconsin Prediction and Odds for Thursday, December 15 (Do Badgers Take Foot Off the Gas)

Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn (23) and  forward Tyler Wahl
Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn (23) and forward Tyler Wahl / Jovanny Hernandez / Milwaukee Journal

The Mountain Hawks of Lehigh have lost two straight to get to 4-4 on the season with their most recent game, an 88-62 loss to UMBC, coming all the way back on Dec. 3.

During that 12-day hiatus, the Wisconsin Badgers got two wins in Big 10 play over Maryland and Iowa. They find themselves at 8-2 and No. 22 in the country heading into this little escape from the daunting Big 10 schedule. 

The Badgers are big favorites, but could they take their foot off the gas tonight and let the Mountain Hawks hang around? Let’s get into the odds and I’ll tell you how I’m betting it. 

Lehigh vs. Wisconsin Odds, Spread and Total

Lehigh vs. Wisconsin Prediction and Pick

Wisconsin is a top 25 team, and it's absolutely out of Lehigh’s league, but the Mountain Hawks could find an advantage in their pace of play. They are 35th in the country in possessions per game compared to Wisconsin who is 290th.

Lehigh plays at a faster tempo and over time that works in its favor because it doesn't need to be as efficient with those chances. If Wisconsin doesn't shoot it well and Lehigh can get out and run then this game will be a lot closer than most people would expect. 

Wisconsin wants to get into the half-court and initiate the offense with Chucky Hepburn. The Badgers often try to work a good shot for Tyler Wahl, and this methodical offense is 300th in the country in points per game.

The defensive end is where they hang their hat. The Badgers are 35th in the country in points allowed, 61.3 with Hepburn averaging 2.0 steals a game at the point of attack. 

Wisconsin has a little three-game break from the toughest conference in college basketball and with that comes an exhale. If it comes out flat, this well-rested Lehigh team that wants to play fast will punch the Badgers in the mouth in the first half.

The Mountain Hawks don’t have the talent to play with Wisconsin all night, but they’re good enough to keep it close. 

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change