NCAAB Betting Guide for Penn State vs Ohio State

NCAAB Betting Guide for Penn State vs Ohio State article feature image

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Seth Lundy (Penn State)

Penn State vs Ohio State Odds

Thursday, Feb. 23
6:30 p.m. ET
Penn State Odds
-110o / -110u
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Following a four-game losing streak, Penn State has pulled off consecutive wins over Illinois and Minnesota. It improved to 16-11 overall and 7-9 in the Big Ten.

Penn State's NCAA tournament hopes live again, but it will need to keep winning.

Ohio State was a team that many expected to make the NCAA tournament this season, particularly after a 10-3 start.

However, since then, Ohio State's season has gone off the rails. The Buckeyes have lost eight straight games and 13 of 14.

Lately, it has gotten even worse for the Buckeyes, as they have lost their last three games by over 20 points.

Barring a Big Ten Tournament matchup, this will be the lone meeting between these schools after three matchups last season.

Can Ohio State use a little home cooking to snap its losing streak?

Penn State Nittany Lions

Penn State's offense is led by its three double-digit scorers in guards Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk.

However, it starts with the do-it-all Pickett. He is averaging 18.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and seven assists per game. He has one triple-double this season and narrowly missed a few more.

Pickett is 6-foot-4, but his stocky frame allows him to be more effective in the paint than you would expect for a player his size.

Pickett is also a 38% 3-point shooter. That is where Lundy and Funk thrive. They are each making about three 3s per game and shooting 41% or above.

As a team, Penn State ranks in the top 11 nationally in 3s made (10.9), attempts (27.7) and percentage (38.9%). Nearly half of Penn State's field goal attempts are 3s.

The long ball is a big reason why Penn State ranks 16th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency.

However, Penn State struggles defending it, as well.

It ranks 193rd in 3-point percentage defense, as opponents are knocking down 34.2% of their attempts.

The Nittany Lions struggle even more on the interior. They allow their opponents to make 49.5% of their 2-point attempts, which ranks 157th nationally.

Penn State is also 311th in rebounds per game and loses the rebounding battle by three per game.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

On Sunday, Ohio State started fast at Purdue and was competitive in the first half. However, Purdue eventually pulled away for a 82-55 victory.

The main takeaway from that game was that head coach Chris Holtmann started four true freshmen — Brice Sensabaugh, Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle Jr. and Felix Okpara.

Sensabaugh and Thornton have been mainstays in the starting lineup. Sensabaugh is the team's leading scorer at 16.5 points points per game. He is shooting 48.5% from the field and 43.5% from 3.

Okpara started in place of junior forward Zed Key, who was averaging 10.8 points and a team-leading 7.5 rebounds a game. He re-aggravated a shoulder injury last Thursday at Iowa. Key will undergo surgery on his shoulder, and he will miss the rest of the season.

It is a big loss for the Buckeyes, but Okpara does offer more length and rim protection. He averages 1.1 blocks in 13.3 minutes and had four in 16 minutes against Purdue.

Ohio State could use a defensive presence in its lineup, as it ranks 114th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

The Buckeyes are not very disruptive, as their opponents average just 11.1 turnovers per game.

They also commit 16 fouls per game, which ranks 252nd nationally.

Their opponents shoot 16 free throws per game, which will be interesting to watch against Penn State. The Nittany Lions attempt the fewest free throws per game in the country.

Penn State vs. Ohio State Betting Pick

When dealing with a team on a prolonged losing streak, you have to consider spots where it may turn things around. Sports are variable in nature, so you can't expect every game to go the same way.

I considered that when Ohio State played Northwestern. Ohio State lost that game by six as an 5.5-point favorite, and things have only gotten worse since.

For the Buckeyes, it does look like not that turnaround is coming this season. As a result, I believe the best course of action is to fade them until proven otherwise.

That's particularly true against a Penn State team with a potent offense. The Nittany Lions are also fighting to get into the NCAA tournament.

At nearly even money, I have to back the Nittany Lions in this spot.

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