Big Ten Tournament Betting: Ohio State-Michigan State, Nebraska-Wisconsin

Big Ten Tournament Betting: Ohio State-Michigan State, Nebraska-Wisconsin article feature image
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USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman (23), Ohio State C.J. Jackson (3).

With the Big Ten tournament moving onto the quarterfinals, the games are heating up as well.

In the first half of Friday’s docket, No. 1 seed Michigan State matches up with No. 8 Ohio State, which it swept in their two regular season meetings.

Shortly after, No. 4 seed Wisconsin squares off against No. 13 seed Nebraska, as the Badgers won — outright and ATS — in Lincoln for their lone matchup.

Where’s the value in these two games? Let’s break them down.

Betting Odds: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan State Spartans

  • Spread: Michigan State -11
  • Over/Under: 135
  • Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: Big Ten Network

>> All odds as of Thursday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time CBB odds and live win probabilities on your bets.


The Spartans (22-9 against the spread) have dominated ATS throughout the campaign, including a pair of covers vs. the Buckeyes (13-19 ATS) in their two straight up wins.

Nevertheless, I’m expecting a motivated Ohio State team with revenge on its mind. They held a one-point edge with 4:32 left before losing by nine in their first go-around. Chris Holtmann and Co. were then tied with 7:40 left in East Lansing, but Michigan State ended the game on a 20-2 run.

The Buckeyes likely have an NCAA tournament bid locked up after a victory over Indiana in the second round, but the Spartans would need plenty of help to earn a No. 1 seed in March Madness — even if they won the Big Ten tournament.

OSU should have much of the motivation on its side as a result.

Matchups wise, the Buckeyes’ attack appeared rejuvenated with 6-foot-9 Kaleb Wesson (suspension) back in the lineup on Thursday, and they should be able to play inside-out through him with MSU yielding the fifth-highest 3-point scoring rate (32.6%) in league play.

Ohio State has notched the third-highest scoring percentage (33.2%) from that department, with Wesson averaging 18.5 points per game (53.8% shooting) vs. Michigan State this season.

At the other end, the Buckeyes’ fourth-ranked opponents’ turnover rate in conference play will give MSU’s offense issues, as they’ve generated the third-highest turnover rate (18.8%). Spartans point guard Cassius Winston will eventually take over down the stretch, but expect C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods’ on-ball defense to disrupt his play earlier on.

I’ll take the underdog with a slightly inflated line.

THE PICK: Ohio State +11

Betting Odds: Nebraska Cornhuskers-Wisconsin Badgers

  • Spread: Wisconsin -7
  • Over/Under: 127
  • Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • TV: Big Ten Network

Neither side presents much value against the spread in this one, yet the total still delivers intrigue.

The Badgers, hitting the under in 56.7% (17-13-1) of their games this season, own the 18th-lowest Adjusted Tempo (63.6 possessions per 40 minutes). Greg Gard’s bunch strives to use much of the shot clock on every possession, but it’s totaled the sixth-lowest Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (100.2 points per 100 possessions) amid its conference slate.

Wisconsin’s biggest strength comes from behind the arc, boasting the third-highest 3-point clip (35.9%) in league play. Although the Cornhuskers have struggled to defend the perimeter vs. Big Ten foes, especially without the do-it-all Isaac Copeland (torn ACL), they let up a mere 30.0% 3-point clip to a perimeter-oriented Maryland team on Thursday.

The 6-foot-8, 250-pound Tanner Borchardt held Terps big Bruno Fernando in check, too, giving them few opportunities to play inside-out. Fernando is no Ethan Happ (17.8 points per game), but expect Borchardt to still challenge the 6-foot-10 forward.

At the other end, the Cornhuskers’ offense will likely run into a wall with its seven-man rotation — six of them scholarship players — in its third game over a three-day span. They’re facing college basketball’s fourth-rated Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (87.3 opponents’ points per 100 possessions) as well, so their sluggish pace won’t create a bunch of scoring opportunities.

The under has hit in 53.3% of Nebraska’s games, too, setting up well for that side of the total.

THE PICK: Under 127

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