Wednesday College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights Betting Preview
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Geo Baker (Rutgers)
- Ohio State travels to one of the more difficult venues in the Big Ten, the RAC, to face off against Rutgers.
- The Scarlet Knights are coming off of a 21-point beat down of Michigan State at home.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers Odds
|Ohio State Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights host the Ohio State Buckeyes at the RAC Wednesday night.
Rutgers is running hot after a 21-point victory over Michigan State on Saturday, while OSU just defeated Maryland in a 15-point rout of its own.
However, traveling to Piscataway, New Jersey has been a tough ask for most teams this season. Rutgers has just two losses at home this season: Lafayette and Maryland.
Based on the teams the Scarlet Knights have beaten at home, these are quite unusual, but it’s beside the point here.
Rutgers should keep this one close until the final buzzer, thus covering the tight spread.
Ohio State is an elite offensive team, but it’s lackluster when it comes to guarding other teams. The Buckeyes allow 45.8% of 2-pointers to fall for opponents and 32.8% of 3s.
They rank 103rd, according to KenPom’s Adjusted Defensive Efficiency metric, compared to Rutgers, which ranks 53rd.
One of the main issues is Ohio State cannot turn opponents over consistently. The Buckeyes rank 315th in defensive turnover percentage, which would negate an issue Rutgers typically has.
E.J. Liddell is one of the hardest players in college basketball to guard. He averages 19.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He can do it all offensively, so Rutgers will need to try to contain him.
Rutgers can do so with Clifford Omoruyi, who averages 1.2 blocks per game and stands at 6-foot-11. His presence should limit Liddell occasionally.
Liddell can get frustrated and turn the ball over on occasion, and Omoruyi and the pressure from the Scarlet Knights could cause the star forward to cough the ball up a few times on the road.
OSU will have to exploit Rutgers’ weakness on the perimeter. The Scarlet Knights are allowing opponents to shoot 34.3% from 3-point range, while OSU shoots the 3-ball at 37.1%.
Justin Ahrens, Meechie Johnson Jr., Liddell, Jamari Wheeler and Malaki Branham all shoot over 34% from downtown. They will get their shots up, so Rutgers’ guards cannot overcommit on 3s. Otherwise, they will be playing catch up the entire game.
The Scarlet Knights could have a steady advantage on the glass. They rebound at a 30.9% clip on offense and hold opponents to 27% on defense — compared to OSU’s 29.7% and 27.8% marks, respectively.
Omoruyi leads the way with eight boards per game and is followed by Ron Harper Jr. at 6.2 rebounds a night. Otherwise, the Scarlet Knights can crash the glass from every position, giving them a leg up on OSU.
They will need to contain Liddell, Zed Key and Kyle Young on the glass. They will have an advantage on most other players on the Buckeyes, though.
Building off of that, the Scarlet Knights are a far better defensive team than the Buckeyes. They have held opponents to 45.2% inside the arc. This should limit the attack from Key, Young and most importantly, Liddell.
If they slow down the Buckeyes’ bigs, they should be able to further limit the damage from OSU beyond the arc. If they don’t have to double-team Liddell, that will allow the Scarlet Knights plenty of chances to limit open 3s on kick outs.
Ohio State vs. Rutgers Betting Pick
Rutgers has a leg up on OSU with its defense and home-court advantage. The Scarlet Knights should be able to cover this short number by limiting the Buckeyes’ interior attack.
If they can also mitigate the 3-point risk from OSU, they could even win straight up.