College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Akron vs. Ohio State: Bet on Tuesday’s Total
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- Ohio State faces off against Akron and old Big Ten foe John Groce in both team's season openers.
- The Buckeyes don't have the services of Duane Washington Jr. anymore, while the Zips lost their best player Loren Cristian Jackson.
- Jim Root breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Akron vs. Ohio State Odds
-105o / -115u
|Ohio State Odds|
-105o / -115u
Can we call this the Battle of LeBron?
Sure, he did not attend college, but he’s from Akron and he’s shown quite a proclivity to back the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is the clear favorite in this tussle for the King’s heart, but the visiting Zips are no slouch.
Akron coach John Groce is quite familiar with the Big Ten, having spent five seasons in charge of the Illinois hoops program. His teams launch from beyond the arc with a deep assortment of shooters, aiming to spread the floor and exploit the gaps created.
Defensively, Groce is mostly a man-to-man guy. Fortunately, he has a stalwart rim protector in Enrique Freeman as the foundation.
The Zips may be a little less zippy this year, though, without star point guard Loren Cristian Jackson. LCJ — not to be confused with LeBron, aka LBJ — was a 5-foot-8 blur, jetting all over the floor to create points for himself and his teammates.
He ranked seventh nationally in usage and 23rd in assist rate, emphasizing just how vital he was to the Akron offense. Groce’s teams are rarely extreme one way or another tempo-wise, but without LCJ, it’s reasonable to predict they’ll slow down somewhat.
Meanwhile, Ohio State loses a key scorer of its own in sniper Duane Washington Jr.
If the offense ever stalled last year (a rarity), Washington was the “get out of jail free” card. He was a devastating pull-up shooter from beyond the arc and his scoring prowess helped buoy the Buckeyes’ No. 4 ranking in KenPom’s Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.
That was well ahead of the defense, which finished 82nd. In the three years prior, OSU ranked 15th, 25th and 19th on defense. Mysteriously, the Buckeyes stopped forcing turnovers entirely.
In response, Chris Holtmann nabbed Jamari Wheeler from rival Penn State, a tenacious on-ball stopper who immediately upgrades the perimeter defense.
Washington-for-Wheeler is not a one-for-one swap, but regardless, expect a more balanced team this year.
Akron vs. Ohio State Betting Pick
If you’ve already deciphered the endpoint of this deliberation, then you have terrific reading comprehension.
Between the loss of LCJ as an offensive catalyst, the potential downturn in the Zips’ pace and a more stable Ohio State defense, it’s the under for me.
I’m taking it at 145 now, and I would take it down to 143.