Big Ten Tournament Picks & Odds: How to Bet Indiana vs. Penn State & Purdue vs. Ohio State

Big Ten Tournament Picks & Odds: How to Bet Indiana vs. Penn State & Purdue vs. Ohio State article feature image

Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Indiana’s Trayce-Jackson Davis.

It’s time for the Big Ten Tournament semifinals in Chicago, Illinois.

Just like everybody predicted, Ohio State is two wins away from clinching an NCAA Tournament berth. The Buckeyes will be taking on Big Ten regular-season champion Purdue.

Once that early matchup concludes, we have Penn State taking on Indiana.

It should be a doozy of an afternoon of Big Ten hoops, so let’s go ahead and break down both of these matchups to uncover the best betting angle.

Ohio State vs. Purdue Odds

Saturday, March 11
12 p.m. ET
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Purdue Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Just like everybody in America predicted, the 13-seed Buckeyes have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament after spending the majority of the past two months losing basketball games. This is why March is the best.

No Zed Key or Brice Sensabaugh? No problem. These Buckeyes have been a cash cow against the spread these past couple of weeks, and they'll look to continue the trend here.

The Buckeyes remarkably find themselves in the top 25 in adjusted offensive efficiency, and that’s thanks in part to growing freshman sensation Bruce Thornton.

Thornton spent the majority of the season on the bench, but because of a laundry list of injuries, he was called on to take a bigger role, and man, has he ever. Thornton dropped 21 points in the stunning victory over Michigan State last night, and the man is just a straight-up bucket from midrange, hitting 52% of his shots. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know it’s officially a Bruce Thornton stan account.

I expect the Buckeyes to find some offensive success against the Boilermakers, even with Sensabaugh’s status still unknown. I do have concerns about their ability to make it to the free-throw line, as the Buckeyes don’t get there too often and the Boilermakers don't foul a ton. They certainly will be outsized in this matchup, and earning second chances on offense may be rare.

Ohio State is already thin as is without Key or potentially Sensabaugh once again, so it may also suffer from some tired legs here as well.

The Boilermakers took care of business against Rutgers yesterday afternoon, but they left their backers unsatisfied as the Knights crept through the backdoor in the final seconds to cover the number.

Purdue defeated the Buckeyes in both regular-season matchups, including a 27-point blowout home win on Feb. 19. But we’ve all seen Matt Painter’s teams face an opponent it should be able to put away easily but squander the opportunity. Will this be the case here?

There’s no hiding the fact that the Boilermakers have been a terrific team all season. They still find themselves inside the top 30 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, and they certainly have the talent edge in this matchup.

The Boilers are elite inside the paint, which comes as no surprise when you have Zach Edey on the floor.

I would like the see some improvement from their shooting behind the arc, though, as they sit 239th in 3-point percentage. They do, however, protect the basketball very well and get to the charity stripe frequently. If they stick to their strengths and protect the basketball, I see no reason why they shouldn’t come out with a victory here.

However, I have to ride this Ohio State cover wagon until the wheels fall off. The Bucks have been sensational this entire month, and I see no reason why the momentum won’t carry over here.

Yes, it’s going to be concerning if Sensabaugh doesn’t suit up again, and I do have concerns about this being their fourth game in four days. While I’d be stunned if they pulled off another victory here, I think this number is way too large.

I trust Thornton to continue to ball out and put the Buckeyes on his back once again.

Pick: Ohio State +7.5 (Play to 6.5)

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Penn State vs. Indiana Odds

Saturday, March 11
2:30 p.m. ET
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Indiana Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It’s been quite the week for the Nittany Lions, as they’ve positioned themselves for a trip to the Big Ten title game. They cranked out a victory last night over a stingy Northwestern team, and they will look to stay hot on both ends of the floor against Indiana here.

Penn State is the No. 1 team in the country in experience, according to KenPom, so this could play huge dividends moving forward.

The Nittany Lions have been slept on by many, but they have a terrific basketball team. They find themselves inside the top 20 in adjusted offensive efficiency, 3-point percentage, turnovers and field-goal percentage.

This team can straight-up play, all thanks to the lethal duo of Jalen Pickett and Seth Lundy. It’s easy to get overlooked in a stacked Big Ten, but the rest of the nation is going to find out quickly how good this team really is.

In this particular matchup, I do have some concerns, though. Penn State is pretty thin on the bench, whereas Indiana has a bit more depth, so the Nittany Lions may suffer from fatigue, especially after playing a tough grinder last night.

Their ability to grab offensive rebounds is also alarming, as they’re one of the worst teams in the country in that department (363rd). Going up against Trayce Jackson-Davis is no walk in the park, and that will make things even more difficult when they can’t box out.

For the Hoosiers, it’s a real shame Xavier Johnson is going to miss the remainder of this season because they would have a chance to make the Final Four with him on the floor. But when you have a freshman guard in Jalen Hood-Schifino taking the world by storm, things may not be so bad after all.

I expect the Hoosiers to have a lot of success on offense in this matchup, as they should take advantage of Penn State’s liabilities on defense. PSU doesn't grab rebounds, force turnovers or block shots very often, so this sets up for a tasty matchup for Jackson-Davis.

I also trust the Hoosiers' ability to make shots from behind the arc, as they’re more than capable of keeping pace with the Nittany Lions.

I also trust the Hoosiers' defense a lot more than the Nittany Lions', as they find themselves inside the top 50 in the majority of defensive categories.

What this matchup will come down to is Indiana's ability to stifle this Penn State shooting attack and limit the turnovers on offense. It should be a bit more rested than Penn State, so at the end of the game, we should be able to tell a difference in both teams’ fatigue.

I think the safest approach here is to take the over. I know Penn State is an absolute snail on offense, and despite Indiana being a decent defensive team, I expect it to find some success here.

If I had to take a side, I would certainly roll with the Hoosiers. But I still think this Penn State team is underrated in the market, and I think it's more than capable of pulling off the upset here.

I expect Indiana’s offense to have a great day, and even if Penn State comes out a bit fatigued, it should put up its fair share of points.

Also, the Nittany Lions destroyed the Hoosiers in their one regular-season matchup, so Indiana may be extra juiced up for this game. KenPom also has this total at 146, so I definitely think there’s value in this number.

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