NCAAB Odds, Pick for Ohio State vs Michigan State

NCAAB Odds, Pick for Ohio State vs Michigan State article feature image

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images). Pictured: Jamison Battle (left) and Bruce Thornton (right).

Ohio State vs Michigan State Odds, Pick

Sunday, Feb 25
4:00pm ET
Ohio State Odds
-110o / -110u
Michigan St Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

Let’s head to East Lansing, Michigan, where the Michigan State Spartans will host the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Check out our College Basketball Betting Hub for more NCAAB previews, predictions, news and analysis.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State axed Chris Holtmann after another disastrous start in conference play. Interim head coach Jon Diebler lifted the Buckeyes to a win over No. 2 Purdue in his first game. In the follow-up, Ohio State lost to Minnesota in the Barn, which most Big Ten teams do.

The Buckeyes really struggle on defense, sitting 125th in defensive efficiency. Teams shoot a staggering 36% from deep against them, which creates serious defensive problems. The post defense is fairly strong with Felix Okpara operating inside, but most of their players are offensive-centric, like Jamison Battle. And while the Spartans don't shoot a lot of 3s, they can make them.

A majority of Ohio State's offensive production is from three players: Battle, Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bruce Thornton. The dynamic trio combines for 43 of the team's 74 points per game, led by 16 from Thornton. My biggest concern about Ohio State's offense is shooting considering it hits just 33% of its 3s. Gayle and Thornton only shoot around 30% from deep, while Battle hits over 40% from downtown.

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State is right where it always is in February: sitting in the 7-10-seed range and waiting until its time to strike. It’s just been how Tom Izzo's teams operate over the past four seasons.

But Michigan State surprisingly fell short its last time out against Iowa in the Breslin Center as 9.5-point favorites. The Spartans surrendered 1.2 points per possession in the loss, a large number for a typically elite defense.

That elite defense ranks 18th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom. Strong defense is Izzo’s staple, so it’s not a shocker this iteration of Michigan State is leaning into defense.

The Spartans' offense largely relies on scoring from Tyson Walker, who posts over 18 points per game. He’s one of the sport’s most consistent scorers and needs a big output against the Buckeyes. The question for Michigan State's offense: Who can help Walker out? Some games it’s Malik Hall, others it’s Jaden Akins. You have no clue which guy will be the No. 2 scorer on a given night.

Michigan State isn’t a high-volume shooting team, attempting 3s on just 30% of possessions. That’s a very low number, though the Spartans hit on 37% of those shots.

The biggest storyline around East Lansing is the exiling of Mady Sissoko from the lineup entirely. The former starting center is barely playing nowadays, sitting for Carson Cooper and Jaxon Kohler. It’s uncommon for Izzo to completely erase a player from the lineup after starting all year, but it seemed necessary. The interior will matter against the Buckeyes.

Ohio State vs. Michigan State

Betting Pick & Prediction

I know Michigan State is solid, but the metrics seem to overvalue the Spartans. KenPom tabs Michigan State as the 16th-best team in the sport, which is about 15-20 spots better than I see them.

The inflated metrics lend value to Ohio State covering the 9.5 points, particularly since both teams play slow tempos.

Pick: Ohio State +1o (Play to +9)

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