Iowa vs Ohio State Odds, Picks: Buckeyes to Cover?

Iowa vs Ohio State Odds, Picks: Buckeyes to Cover? article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Ohio State’s Zed Key.

Iowa vs Ohio State Odds

Saturday, Jan. 21
2 p.m. ET
Iowa Odds
-105o / -115u
Ohio State Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel.

Iowa looks to continue its hot streak in Columbus when it takes on Ohio State Saturday afternoon.

The Hawkeyes are red-hot at the moment and have won four straight games in the Big Ten. They had their midweek game against Northwestern called off due to COVID-19 issues within the Wildcats program, so they will have a major rest advantage heading into Saturday's tilt.

Ohio State is on the other end of the spectrum. The Buckeyes are ice-cold right now, losing five straight games in conference play. However, they have been a bit unfortunate because all five of their losses have come by seven points or less.

The Buckeyes are a really good offensive team that's going through a shooting slump, so they're bound to turn things around at some point.

It may just be Saturday at home against Iowa.

Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa is an outstanding offensive team, ranking fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom. What's crazy is it's actually due for some positive shooting regression, too.

Image via ShotQuality.

Kris Murray missed four games earlier in the season, including the Hawkeyes' embarrassing loss to Eastern Illinois.

Iowa's season looked like it was lost, going down big to Indiana before pulling off an incredible comeback. Now, it's won four straight games, so you're starting to see that positive shooting regression come its way.

Murray is every bit as good as his brother, Keegan, who now plays for the Sacramento Kings. Kris is averaging 21.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, while also shooting 62.6% from inside the arc and 37% from the 3-point range.

However, the biggest reason the Iowa offense has improved over the last four games has been the emergence of Payton Sandfort. Sandfort went through shooting slumps during the nonconference schedule but has averaged 23.8 PPG on 11-for-22 shooting from behind the arc during Iowa's four-game win streak.


Michigan (+180 ML) had a 7-point lead with 2 minutes to play and we are going to OT 😳

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 13, 2023

The problems that have existed for Iowa have been on the defensive end of the floor. For whatever reason, teams are also just shooting lights out against the Hawkeyes, as they’re 121st in defensive efficiency on KenPom but 41st on ShotQuality

Iowa is very bad at defending in transition, allowing 1.37 PPP, which is 301st in the country. It's also well below average at defending midrange jumpers, which is a problem against an Ohio State team that takes them at a top-30 frequency in the country.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

The reason Ohio State is going through a rough stretch is a multitude of reasons.

In its first three games, its defense let it down by allowing over 1.05 PPP. Then, in its last two games against Minnesota and Nebraska, the defense stepped up and held both opponents under 0.90 PPP, but the offense failed to average over 0.90 PPP.

Overall, the Buckeyes have been very good offensively, ranking 11th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They do a lot of their damage from the midrange and in post-up sets as they run both sets at a top-30 frequency.

The problem is they're shooting over 38% from 3-point range but have one of the lowest 3-point rates in the country. They're also getting to the rim at a very low percentage, as their rim and 3-point rate ranks 358th in the nation.

Ohio State also gets to the free-throw line at a very low rate, which is bad news against an Iowa team that's one the best in the country at keeping opponents off the free-throw line.

The Buckeyes defense has let them down at times this season, but they're a top-20 team in PPP allowed in both the half-court and in transition, per ShotQuality. They're also a top-25 unit in effective field goal percentage allowed and 3-point percentage allowed, which is huge against a hot shooting team like Iowa.

The biggest areas of weakness for Ohio State defensively are defending midrange jumpers and back cuts. OSU sits outside the top 250 in PPP for both of those sets, while Iowa runs them at a top-50 frequency.

Iowa vs Ohio State Betting Pick

If there was ever a spot to take Ohio State, this is it — at home, coming off a five-game losing streak and hosting a red-hot Iowa team that's likely going to regress.

The biggest thing for Ohio State in this matchup is defending the 3-point line and defending in transition, where Iowa does most of its damage. The Buckeyes are a top-20 team in PPP allowed in both transition and behind the 3-point line, so they should be able to slow down this red-hot Iowa offense.

Plus, they have the size and athleticism to guard Murray.

I like the value on the Buckeyes ending their losing streak at home and covering the 3.5-point spread.

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