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Ohio State vs. Michigan Odds & Pick: Wolverines’ Isaiah Livers Out with Foot Injury, Game Total Falling

Ohio State vs. Michigan Odds & Pick: Wolverines’ Isaiah Livers Out with Foot Injury, Game Total Falling article feature image

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images. Pictured: Michigan Wolverines forward Isaiah Livers (2).

  • Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State square off Saturday in the semifinal round of the conference tournament.
  • The top-seeded Wolverines, who cruised to their quarterfinal win, face a Buckeyes team that held on after squandering an 18-point lead against Purdue.
  • BJ Cunningham details why he expects plenty of points in this meeting below.

Editors Note: Per Jeff Goodman, Michigan forward Isaiah Livers will not play vs. Ohio State this afternoon due to a foot injury. The game total for Ohio State vs. Michigan has fallen from 145.5 at the time of publish to 142.5 as of writing. After a momentary swell up to -6.5 across the betting market, Michigan is now down to -5.5 at BetMGM on the heels of the Livers announcement. The forthcoming betting guide from BJ Cunningham was originally published before the injury news on Isaiah Livers and the subsequent market movement detailed herein.

Ohio State vs. Michigan Odds

Ohio State Odds
Michigan Odds
+200 / -250
Time | TV
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Odds updated Saturday at 11 a.m. ET and via BetMGM.

Bitter rivals meet in the first of two Big Ten semifinal games Saturday when top-seeded Michigan battles Ohio State.

The Buckeyes blew a 18-point halftime lead against Purdue and needed overtime to advance to the semifinal round. That’s two games in a row Ohio State has squandered early leads, as it let Minnesota hang around Thursday.

They’ve potentially been dealt a big blow, as Kyle Young went down with a head injury. He is questionable to play against Michigan, and if he is not able to go it would be a big blow for the Buckeyes because he had a career-high 18 points in the first half against Purdue.

Michigan came out of the gates sluggish against Maryland, but was able to put away the Terrapins in the second half. The Wolverines took down Ohio State a little less than a month ago via a 92-87 victory in one of the best college basketball games of the season.

Michigan has looked vulnerable toward the end of its campaign, so if Ohio State plays like it did in the first half of both of its Big Ten tournament games it could pull off the upset.

When Ohio State has the ball

The Buckeyes have one of the best offenses in the country, ranking fourth in terms of efficiency, per KenPom, and averaged 1.12 points per possession during Big Ten play. The reason they’re so efficient is because they can score from all over the court.

Ohio State ranks fourth in 2-point percentage and second in 3-point percentage in the Big Ten and torched Michigan in their only meeting this season, shooting more than 50% from both 2-point and 3-point range.

The Buckeyes were able to average 1.30 points per possession in that contest, which is the best performance anyone has had against Michigan’s elite defense this season.

Ohio State attempts 3-pointers on more than 40% of its field-goal attempts, converting more than 36% of them. The good news for the Buckeyes is that’s how you beat Michigan’s defense. We saw it first-hand in the opening half against Maryland on Friday ,as the Terrapins we able to get out to a big lead by hitting a ton of threes in a row.

If Young is unable to play, that’s going to be a big blow for Ohio State. However, if the Buckeyes are able to have some resemblance of their offensive performance against Michigan earlier this season, they’ll have a good chance at beating their rivals.

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When Michigan has the ball

The Wolverines’ offense exploded midway through Friday’s first half, and put away Maryland in the second half with fantastic shooting from behind the arc. The Wolverines went 10 of 22 from deep against Maryland, which is what we have come to expect from the fifth-best offense in terms of efficiency, per KenPom.

Shooting threes is exactly how you beat Ohio State’s defense, as the Buckeyes allow almost 34% from three-point range. Michigan made 47.8% of their 3-point attempts in the their February meeting, so I expect Juwan Howard’s players to launch a ton of threes in this affair.

The biggest problem for Ohio State if Young is not able to play is dealing with Hunter Dickinson. The 7-1 freshman has a massive size advantage over the Buckeyes’ front court, whose tallest starter is EJ Liddell at 6-foot-7 inches. Dickinson had 22 points and nine rebounds against Ohio State in their lone regular season meeting, so he will be a problem for the Buckeyes defensively.

The Buckeyes are 11th in the Big Ten in 2-point defense, so Michigan should be able to score from anywhere, just like it did in late February in Columbus.

Betting Analysis & Pick

The way these offenses are shooting the ball right now it’s hard to see how either defense is going to stop the other. Michigan should be able to score from all places on the court, with Ohio State having no answer down low for Dickinson if Young is unavailable for this game.

Therefore, I think were going to see another offensive showcase between these two rivals.

I’ll back Over 145.5 points (FanDuel) and would play it up to 148 points.

Pick: Over 145.5 points | Play up 148 points

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