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Odds & Pick for Michigan vs. Ohio State College Basketball: There’s Value on the Total in Big Ten Clash

Odds & Pick for Michigan vs. Ohio State College Basketball: There’s Value on the Total in Big Ten Clash article feature image

Nic Antaya/Getty Images. Pictured: Juwan Howard.

  • Two Big Ten powerhouses meet on Sunday in Columbus, as Michigan looks to take a big step toward a conference title.
  • The Wolverines have picked up right where they left off before a 24-day hiatus due to COVID-19, having won two straight.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down why he sees great value on the game total.

Michigan vs. Ohio State Odds

Michigan Odds +1.5
Ohio State Odds -1.5
Moneyline +102 / -125
Over/Under 148.5
Time | TV Sunday, 1 p.m. ETCBS
Odds as of Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and via DraftKings.

I grew up in Ann Arbor and have been watching Wolverines basketball for most of my life. I have never seen a Michigan basketball team as talented as this one.

Unfortunately, and predictably, standing in between the Wolverines and a Big Ten title is one of the most talented Ohio State teams in recent memory.

For as incredible as it’s played, I’m not sure Michigan has the offensive firepower to beat Ohio State on the road on Sunday afternoon. However, I’m also not sure if Ohio State is defensively adept enough to stay competitive with the Wolverines on that end.

Therefore, the most important matchup in this game will be Ohio State’s offense against Michigan’s defense.

The winner of that battle is too difficult to predict. However, the betting value in this game lies in the total.

The Matchup: Ohio State’s Offense vs. Michigan’s Defense

Just recently, both Ohio State’s offense and Michigan’s defense have been phenomenal.

For example, Ohio State is 3-1-1 to the over in its last five games. Meanwhile, Michigan is 4-1 to the under in its last five games. The under has also hit in both of Michigan’s games since its return to play after a 24-day hiatus due to COVID-19 protocols.

Michigan boasts the best defense in the Big Ten. It leads the conference in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, and also paces the conference in fewest points allowed per game (62.8).

Meanwhile, Ohio State is second in the conference in offensive efficiency and 2-point percentage, fourth in 3-point percentage and first in free throw percentage. Moreover, the Buckeyes are scoring the third-most points per game in the Big Ten.

Personnel-wise, Ohio State runs its offense through E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington. The guard-big combo is scoring a combined 30.4 points per game this season. Liddell adds 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while Washington hands out three assists per game.

In an era where small ball is dominant, Juwan Howard’s team is big and long. Michigan’s frontcourt consists of the 6-foot-7 Isaiah Livers, 6-foot-9 Franz Wagner and 7-foot-1 Hunter Dickinson.

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s working.

Dickinson has been a revelation on offense while also being incredibly valuable to the Wolverines’ interior defense. Over Michigan’s last two games, Dickinson has a combined 23 rebounds and six blocks.

However, Wagner is Michigan’s glue guy. Not only is he averaging 12 points and three assists on offense, he’s a versatile defender who holds his own against every position. Wagner also averages 6.8 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. Simply put, he does it all.


Betting Analysis & Pick

I believe Michigan is the best team in the conference. Regardless of this game’s outcome, Michigan should roll to the Big Ten championship and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

However, Howard is 0-2 straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) against Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann. Plus, Michigan may still be recovering from its long break in play. Therefore, it’s not a smart play to take the Wolverines here.

Instead, I like the under in this spot.

Ohio State’s offense has actually been worse at home than on the road this season. The Buckeyes rank 50th in the country in points per game but just 92nd in points per game at home.

Meanwhile, Ohio State’s defense has performed better at home. It ranks 129th in points per game allowed overall but 81st in points per game allowed at home. In fact, the Buckeyes are allowing just 63.6 points per game in Columbus this season.

Alternatively, Michigan’s already stifling defense performs better on the road than at home. Michigan ranks 51st in points per game allowed but 37th in points per game allowed on the road.

Plus, Michigan’s offense is much less efficient on the road, ranking 47th in points per game this season but just 115th in away points per game.

This all helps explain why Michigan is 4-1 to the under on the road, while Ohio State is 6-5 to the under at home but 7-2-1 to the over on the road.

The under is 6-3 the last nine times these two teams have played. In the Big Ten, 148.5 is a high enough number for me to go under.

Therefore, I’m banking on the trends to continue Sunday afternoon in Columbus. I’m going to play the under at 146 or higher.

Pick: Under 148.5 (down to 146)

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