College Basketball Odds & Pick for Iowa vs. Ohio State: Back Buckeyes to End Losing Streak (Sunday, Feb. 28)
G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: The Ohio State Buckeyes rest during a break against Maryland.
- Ohio State begins the final week of the regular season by welcoming No. 9 Iowa to its arena.
- Both teams are in contention to finish second in the Big Ten with the Buckeyes vying for a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
- Mike Randle explains why he likes Ohio State to beat Iowa for the second time this season.
Iowa vs. Ohio State Odds
On Sunday, No. 9 Iowa travels to No. 4 Ohio State for a pivotal Big Ten showdown.
The Hawkeyes had won four games in a row before a tough 79-57 loss at Michigan on Thursday. They enter travel to Columbus with a 17-7 overall record, including 11-6 in conference play.
The Buckeyes are coming off their first losing streak of the season, with consecutive losses to both Michigan rivals. Ohio State is 18-6 overall, including 12-6 in the conference.
With both teams still in the running for a second-place finish in the Big Ten, who should bettors support in this battle of two top-10 teams?
The first issue for Iowa is health. The Hawkeyes lost valuable backup forward Jack Nunge (7.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG) to a season-ending knee injury in their loss to Michigan. He is a key piece to a Hawkeyes’ offense that is second-best in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Iowa is the fourth-best 3P shooting team in the country, averaging 40.4%. Within conference play, the Hawkeyes are even better at 41.4%. In their first matchup against Ohio State, Iowa was blistering hot from 3P range, shooting 43.8% (14-of-32).
The biggest concern for the Hawkeyes is that even if they repeat their offensive performance from Feb. 4, it may not be good enough.
Iowa scored 85 points, with four players scoring 16 points or more. The Hawkeyes only had six turnovers at home, yet still lost by four points. The biggest struggle was on the interior, where Iowa only shot 44% (14-of-32), even with Player of the Year candidate Luka Garza (16 points, 5-of-10 FG). The Hawkeyes average 51.7% from inside the arc, 96th in the country.
Head coach Fran McCaffrey’s team should get a boost from sophomore guard CJ Fredrick (8.6 PPG, 51.6% 3P), who did not play in the first meeting. Fredrick is a talented 3P shooter and also Iowa’s best defender.
Ohio State is one of the few teams that can match Iowa on offense. The Buckeyes rank third overall in adjusted offensive efficiency, and trail only the Hawkeyes in Big Ten play. Ohio State has superior offensive metrics, shooting 36.6% from 3P, 52.8% from 2P, and 77.6% from the foul line.
The Buckeyes are not as strong defensively but have greatly improved at defending the 3P. Ohio State has dramatically improved against the 3P in Big Ten play, allowing opponents to convert just 32.6% from deep (fourth-best in conference).
The Buckeyes have a pair of strong veteran guards in Duane Washington Jr. (15.6 PPG, 37.9% 3P) and CJ Walker (9.2 PPG, 4.3 APG). They have also seen huge improvement from leading-scorer E.J. Liddell (16.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG), who has scored 18 or more points in each of the past four games.
In their first matchup at Iowa, the Buckeyes put on an offensive efficiency clinic. They torched the Hawkeyes defense for 52% (17-of-33) from the field and 44% (14-of-32) from 3P, earning a huge road win despite shooting just 13 of 19 (68%) from the free-throw line.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both teams have been strong ATS. Iowa is 13-11 overall, but Ohio State is 14-9-1. The Hawkeyes have struggled to cover in road games at just 4-5 ATS. Ohio State is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games and will provide their best effort to avoid a third consecutive late-season loss.
Ohio State has also been a very strong home conference favorite under head coach Chris Holtmann. Per our BetLabs data, the Buckeyes are covering at a 65% rate in those situations during Holtmann’s four seasons.
The Hawkeyes will want revenge against the Buckeyes, but the matchup is still in the favor of Ohio State. I’m backing the home team and laying the small number with the Buckeyes.
Pick: Ohio State -2 (up to -3).