College Basketball Odds & Picks for Iowa vs. Ohio State: Value Lies on Total in Big Ten Affair
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Keegan Murray.
- Iowa travels to Columbus, Ohio to face off against Ohio State in a critical Big Ten duel.
- Two of the top scorers in the country -- Keegan Murray and E.J. Liddell -- go head-to-head in this matchup.
- Despite that, Doug Ziefel breaks down why he's backing the under.
Iowa vs. Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Ohio State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Two of the best big men in the country are set to square off as the Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Both teams are looking to finish the season strong to gain some critical momentum, and it all can start with this game here.
The Hawkeyes enter this matchup on the heels of a loss to Michigan that snapped a three-game win streak. They were let down by their defense, allowing Michigan big man Moussa Diabate to drop a career-high 28 points.
That type of poor defensive performance will need to be fixed quickly, as the level of competition on the low block will be upped a few notches here.
EJ Liddell will up that competition after leading his Buckeyes to victories in three of their last four games. In their previous outing, the Buckeyes flexed their defensive muscle by holding Minnesota to just 45 points. Whether or not they can repeat that effort could very well decide this ball game, as we know Iowa will always bring its offense.
So, with the stage set, let’s dive into this clash of Big Ten titans.
Iowa In Need of Second Option
The Hawkeyes offense has been quite a show to watch this season. Not only does it play fast, but it can score with the best of them. That’s reflected in the metrics. The Hawkeyes are sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency and sixth in tempo.
That has opened up a boatload of opportunities for one of the best scorers in the country in Keegan Murray. Murray has been phenomenal this season, averaging 23.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. He has also been great on the defensive end of the floor, swatting two blocks and snatching one steal per contest.
However, while Murray has been an ultra-consistent source of production for the Hawkeyes, they still need someone else to step up and score. The issue is that you can’t point to the one guy who can do so, as production and minutes do not seem to correlate with anyone else on the roster.
If I had to point to someone who could bust out in this game, it would be Jordan Bohannon. The senior guard had an incredible game against Maryland, where he dropped 30 points on shooting 10-of-16 shooting from 3-point land.
That type of range is where the Buckeyes can be exploited, as they rank 107th in the 3-point percentage allowed.
Look for Buckeyes to Establish Pace
The most significant component for the Buckeyes to win this game is to slow the pace down. They can not by any means get into a track meet with the Hawkeyes. A quick pace favors Iowa in the long run.
Now, Ohio State does have the offense to go shot-for-shot with Iowa, as it sits eighth in adjusted offensive efficiency and 15th in effective field goal percentage.
Liddell is a big reason for those rankings. The Buckeyes big man has taken his game to a different level this season. He averages nearly 20 points and over seven rebounds per game while shooting 40% from beyond the arc.
While Liddell has been magnificent for Ohio State this season, the Buckeyes are similar to the Hawkeyes in that they do not have a consistent second option.
With Ohio State slowing the pace down, opportunities for Liddell may be limited by double teams in the post, so it will be on players like Malaki Branham and Kyle Young to make shots on the perimeter.
Iowa vs. Ohio State Betting Pick
On the surface, this game should be exhilarating. We have two of the best in the nation going at each other, but both Murray and Liddell are solid defenders and could cause each other to struggle much more than usual.
So, with the two best scorers on the court essentially canceling each other out, where will the points come from? Take the under in this matchup. I would wait as long as possible to take it, as the market may drive up the total before tip.