Northwestern Wildcats vs Boise State Broncos March Madness Betting Preview

The 7th Seed is 87-57 All-Time, The Lower Seed is 11-15 in Close Games

We’ll start our Northwestern Wildcats vs. Boise State Broncos preview with a glance at the current odds for either team to win the March Madness tournament. The Wildcats are +19000 to win while the Broncos are +42000. Not exactly odds that will make us run to the book, but with this match-up showing one of the smallest College Basketball lines of the opening round, it feels like we’re in for a classic.

Northwestern Wildcats vs Boise State Broncos

Date, time:
Location: Golden One Center, Sacramento, California
Region: West

Wildcats Head To Tournament After Historical Season

Northwestern won 21 games this season, their second most in the school’s history. They set a record for the most conference wins (12), which was the catalyst for their second-place finish, their highest since 1958-59. To find historical data involving the Wildcats you have to dig deep. They have made the tournament just one other time (2017) when they advanced to the second round against top-seed Gonzaga after knocking off the 8th-seed Vanderbilt Commodores (68-66) in the first round. They lost to the Zags, 79-73, but gave a terrific showing.

How the Wildcats Got Here

Northwestern lost in the first round of the Big 10 Tournament to Penn State as a 2-point favorite, 67-65 in overtime. Despite the effort, Northwestern has lost four of their last five games overall, while failing to cover three of their last four games. The ‘cats started to put the Big 10 on notice when they went into East Lansing as a 6-point underdog and beat the Spartans outright (70-63). That would start a streak of five straight wins against teams they should have beaten, but after a huge road win it would have been easy for the Wildcats to stumble against lesser opponents. The Northwestern net rating was 41st.

How Far Can Northwestern Go?

Their round-one game will be difficult, but if the ‘cats manage to overcome the Broncos it seems as if a win against the UCLA Bruins is a lot to ask. Although they’ll be a big underdog in that match-up, bettors know that is the spot where Northwestern is the strongest, covering 11 of 16 games as a dog.

Broncos Fall Short in MWC Finale’

In the first half against Utah State in the conference final, it looked like Boise would cruise to a title but the Aggies outscored the Broncos in the second half by 18 to claim the title in Las Vegas. This will be the 9th tournament for Boise State and the second straight. The program has come a long way since its first appearance when they were crushed by UNLV, 103-78, in 1976, but it’s still looking for its first victory at the Big Dance (0-8). This hasn’t been a time of year where Boise has been great even when you factor in the seven NIT games they’ve participated in, losing 7 of 12.

How They Got Here

With a nine and five-game win streak under their belt this season, Boise has shown tremendous consistency. Only of late have they started to put doubt in the mind of bettors after losing three of their last five games. That includes a game against UNLV they needed overtime to come out victorious, 87-76. Boise has failed to cover 8 of their last 10 games while six of their last nine games have gone over the total. The Broncos finished 20th in the nation in 3-point defense (30.2%) and 32nd in points allowed per game (63.7%). The Wildcats need to be sharp to overcome a tough Boise defense. Let’s continue our Northwestern vs. Boise State preview by predicting the Broncos’ fate.

How Far Will Boise State Go?

Bettors have moved this number 3 points after Boise State opened as a -1.5 point favorite. As you can tell by the total (128) that the oddsmakers expect this to be a defensive battle. We think the toughness of a Big 10 schedule will be the difference for Northwestern whole defensive numbers are far more impressive against the better conference.

Handicapping the Game

To conclude our Northwestern vs Boise State preview, let’s jump into the betting numbers for each. Boise State has been much better in the role of a dog, covering 7 of 11 games, than they were a favorite (8-11-1 ATS). Perhaps the shift in the number has a good omen for the Broncos, but the Cats are 13-9 ATS against teams .500 or better and 11-4 ATS against teams who play over .600 ball. In the end, Northwestern will prove the betting public correct. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)

That concludes our Northwestern vs. Boise State preview, we wish you the best with this year’s tournament.


Last Updated: 03/13/2023 Teams
Spread: Wildcats -1.5
Total: 128
Moneyline: Wildcats -130, Broncos +105
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