College Basketball Odds & Picks for Ohio State vs. Northwestern: How to Bet Saturday’s Big Ten Matchup
Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: Boo Buie.
- Northwestern looks to grab its third straight Big Ten victory when it takes on Ohio State on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
- The Wildcats were projected to finish near the bottom of the conference this year, but another upset could propel them toward the middle.
- BJ Cunningham previews Saturday's matchup and gives his betting pick below:
Ohio State vs. Northwestern Odds
|Ohio State Odds||-3 [BET NOW]|
|Northwestern Odds||+3 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-157 / +130 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||138 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 2 p.m. ET|
After upsets over Michigan State and Indiana, Northwestern looks to make it three Big Ten wins in a row on Saturday when it hosts the 23rd-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
With two Big Ten wins already this season, Northwestern is just one away from its total from last season. The Wildcats were projected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten this year, so another upset on Saturday could propel them toward the middle of the conference.
Ohio State enters Saturday’s matchup after overcoming a 10-point halftime deficit at home to knock off 11th-ranked Rutgers on Wednesday.
Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State was all about defense last season. The Buckeyes ranked 318th in tempo in 2019-20, forcing opponents to make every possession count along the way.
Since Holtmann took the head job in Columbus, Ohio State has finished inside the top 25 in KenPom‘s defensive efficiency every year. But now with Duane Washington and EJ Liddell leading the way, offense has become the team’s bread and butter.
Ohio State’s defense has still been solid, giving up 65.8 points per game, but Holtmann’s offense now ranks in the top 10 nationally in offensive efficiency.
The Buckeyes also got Liddell back from injury recently, and he’s made a huge difference, scoring 21 points in the win over Rutgers.
With the Buckeyes at full strength, they should be able to control the game on the offensive end of the floor.
Northwestern finished with only three Big Ten wins in 2019 but secured back-to-back victories to open Big Ten play this season.
Sophomore guard Boo Buie is the Wildcats’ No. 1 scoring option and posted a combined 32 points against Michigan State and Indiana. Four-star recruit Ty Berry was brought in to bolster the backcourt, and he should help lessen the scoring load on Buie.
Northwestern has shot the ball well in its first four games this season and ranks inside the top 20 in both effective field goal percentage and 3-point percentage.
Northwestern really struggled on defense against the 3-ball last year, ranking 225th in opponent 3-point percentage. The Wildcats also were one of the worst teams in the country at forcing turnovers, ranking 329th, according to KenPom.
Their defense has drastically improved against the 3. They are allowing shots from behind the arc at a 27.9% clip this season, so they may be able to shut down Ohio State’s offense on Saturday.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With how well the Wildcats are playing right now, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they could pull off a third straight upset. If they continue to shoot the way they have been, they could run Ohio State right out of the gym.
I have Ohio State projected as only -1.75 favorites, so I think there’s a little bit of value on the Wildcats at +3.5. However, I wouldn’t play it any lower than that number.
Pick: Northwestern +3.5.