College Basketball Odds, Picks for Ohio vs Belmont | How to Bet This Mid-Major Clash
Pictured: Belmont’s Ben Sheppard. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ohio vs. Belmont Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
For the second season in a row, the Belmont Bruins and the Ohio Bobcats will face-off to begin the year. Last season, the two put on a high-scoring affair, but the Bobcats pulled away late and won 92-80 at home.
The Bobcats will look to start this year in the same way, but will have to do it without the Convocation Center crowd — the 45th-best home-court advantage, per KenPom — behind them.
Not only do they start their season in Nashville, but the Bobcats will also do so without their top three scorers from a season ago.
Head coach Jeff Boals brings nine newcomers to the Bobcats and six of those are freshmen. There are a lot of questions about how Ohio will look without a core that's been so strong over the years.
The first question is: are they good enough to pull off an upset on the road in game one?
The Bobcats may lose their top three scorers, but they return Miles Brown and Ben Roderick. Last season was Brown's first starting and he was solid, but Ohio will need him to take a considerable step forward this year.
Roderick, meanwhile, has started 55 games for the Bobcats in the past two seasons. He's been pivotal on offense and has only improved with time.
Speaking of getting better, Boals did everything in his power to prepare his young team for this season. That included taking them on a team trip to Spain to play three games during which he split the minutes up as evenly as possible.
The Bobcats didn't win any of the games, but the trip could pay dividends when it comes to team chemistry.
Ohio also returns Dwight Wilson III, a sixth-year center whose presence in the paint cannot be understated. He missed all of last season with an injury, but in the year prior, he was the team's second-leading scorer and best rebounder, as he earned Third Team All-MAC recognition.
Joining the team looking to fill the void left in the backcourt is Jaylin Hunter from Old Dominion and Devon Baker out of Tulane. If they can provide solid production, it won't be long before Ohio is once again one of the most competitive mid-majors.
All-Conference First Team selection Ben Sheppard returns for the Bruins, looking to lead Belmont in its first year as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. He may also win Player of the Year along the way.
Belmont's transition to the MVC will be challenging, but there's no doubt it's a challenge the Bruins need. Belmont won more than 80% of its games in the OVC.
The Bruins love to push the pace and are constantly among the top teams in field goal percentage. And while this year's team may be one of their best when it comes to perimeter shooting, there are questions when it comes to proven ability.
Only one starter returns for Belmont, and that's Sheppard. He's an elite 3-point shooter, but what separates him from the status quo, is his ability to score in transition and get to the free-throw line.
From the portal, the Bruins get a player they're familiar with in Keishawn Davidson, who averaged 10 points per game a season ago at Tennessee Tech.
They also get Drew Friberg from Princeton, a patented Bruins player if there ever was one. Last year, Friberg ranked fifth in the Ivy, hitting 39.7% from beyond the arc.
There is some concern about Belmont's depth and how well so many new players will mesh together, but as long as Casey Alexander is at the helm, I don't think it will take long.
Ohio vs. Belmont Betting Pick
Both of these teams are faced with finding their way after the departures of multiple key players. I don't think either will have it figured out in game one, but Belmont has the upper hand.
First and foremost, it's at home and doesn't have to go up against the Bobcats and their fierce home Crowd. Belmont will also look to push the pace, something that will cause even more havoc for an inexperienced Ohio squad.
Finally, it could be Ohio, it could be Ohio State, it doesn't matter. Once 3s start falling in the Curb Center, there is almost no stopping the Bruins.
Regardless of how much experience they do or don't have, Belmont always has 3-point threats, and this year's squad may be one of the most threatening.
Back the Bruins to get it done at home.