College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Ohio vs. Kentucky: Will Wildcats Cruise Past Bobcats?
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- Kentucky hosts an Ohio team that has looked rather impressive without Jason Preston.
- The Bobcats have defeated two quality mid-majors, Belmont and Cleveland State.
- D.J. James breaks down where the value lies in this non-conference college basketball matchup.
Ohio vs. Kentucky Odds
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
The Ohio Bobcats started their 2021-2022 campaign with a convincing win over the Belmont Bruins. The Kentucky Wildcats, however, dropped their first contest to Duke in the Champions Classic.
The Bobcats lost Jason Preston to the pros, while the Wildcats had some usual high roster turnover. Kentucky added Sahvir Wheeler from Georgia, Kellen Grady from Davidson, Oscar Tshiebwe from West Virginia and a strong freshmen class.
Ohio has a high-octane offense and Kentucky is weaker on the defensive side of the ball, so the Bobcats could have a slight advantage on the spread.
The Bobcats are a strong MAC team. They will have to duke it out with Bowling Green and Buffalo, but they could have a shot to win the regular season conference title.
Bringing back a strong core helps in that conquest. Currently, they have four players averaging 10 points per game or more. Mark Sears leads the group, along with Jason Carter, Ben Vander Plas and Ben Roderick.
This team is one cohesive unit. This is a huge edge early in the season, when teams like Kentucky are not familiar with each other in a live game situations.
The Bobcats are averaging 17.3 assists per game and five guys average two or more per game. To make a story short, they distribute the ball.
Outside of Wheeler and TyTy Washington Jr., there really are not many playmakers to go around for Kentucky. That gives Ohio an edge.
Adding Carter from Xavier helps with the height aspect of this game because someone will have to grab rebounds before Tshiebwe, who is a vacuum cleaner on the glass.
Luckily for Ohio, Carter and Vander Plas stand at 6-foot-8, so the team has some height and depth in the post. Ohio only allows offensive rebounds on 20.7% of misses, so this plays into their hands.
Finally, the Bobcats play clean basketball at a pace that matches Kentucky’s. They have only turned the ball over 14% of the time through their first few games.
This will come into play because they have Roderick, Vander Plas and plenty others who can knock down outside shots. They will need to take care of the ball and make shots because Tshiebwe is going to get rebounds. Taking efficient shots will help propel them to a cover.
Kentucky is potentially the most talented team in the country, but it will take a bit for it to gel as a team. As stated above, the Wildcats have almost an entirely new starting lineup.
They have some firepower, though, with five players averaging at least 10 points per game. Wheeler and Washington are the distributors of this offense and they love to play through Tshiebwe on the block.
They can get second-chance opportunities and if they are crashing the glass early, Ohio could be in for a long day. Still, they struggle to get boards on defense (25.7% rebounding percentage for their opponents). This is something to keep in mind for those high on Kentucky.
Kentucky also turns the ball over at a higher clip than Ohio. They rank about 90th in the country in turnover rate and Ohio does not necessarily have the toughest defense, so this could end up a wash, but it is notable.
Now, one of the most convincing angles of this game is 3-point attempts. Ohio is sneaky strong at effectively scoring the ball and making the most of its opportunities.
Kentucky ranks 346th so far this season in 3-point attempts. Sure, the Wildcats have a high 3-point percentage, but if they are trailing or need to separate their margin of victory, they might not do it by firing off shots from behind the arc.
Ohio vs. Kentucky Betting Pick
Ohio is a strong opponent and it has shown that so far in this short season by beating the likely-eventual OVC champions by 12 (Belmont).
Kentucky can crash the glass, but Ohio has enough trees to box out Tshiebwe.
Since the Bobcats are so efficient at scoring the basketball when given the chance, they are the play here.
Pick: Ohio +12 (Play to +9.5)
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