Rutgers vs. Indiana Odds, Betting Pick: Bank on Low-Scoring Affair in Big Ten Tournament (Thursday, March 11)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Indiana’s Rob Phinisee is guarded by Rutgers’ Jacob Young.
- Indiana knows it has to win the Big Ten Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament next week, while Rutgers is sitting firmly on the bubble.
- When they meet on Thursday evening, it will be a battle of two subpar offenses, and we're banking on their struggles to continue on that end.
- Brad Cunningham previews the matchup and makes his pick below.
Rutgers vs. Indiana Odds
Indiana and Rutgers look to keep their season’s alive Thursday when they battle in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Indiana has fallen face first down the stretch, losing its last five games of the regular season. Included in those five losses was a 74-63 defeat in Piscataway, N.J., where the Hoosiers blew a 15-point first half lead. Archie Miller is on the proverbial hot seat and if Indiana doesn’t make a run, it could be curtains for his time at Indiana.
Rutgers is sitting firmly on the bubble right now and needs to make a run in the Big Ten Tournament to have any shot at making the big dance. ESPN’s Bracketology currently has the Scarlet Knights projected as a 10 seed, so a second-round exit against a reeling Indiana squad would definitely not help their chances.
When Indiana has the ball
The Hoosiers’ offense basically runs through Trayce Jackson-Davis, who has one of the highest usage rates in the country. The sophomore is averaging 19.1 points and 9.0 rebounds per game on the year. Rutgers held him somewhat in check in both meetings this season, limiting him to a combined 34 points and 42% shooting inside the arc.
Indiana’s offense has struggled all season long, as there is not a whole lot that has been going right for the Hoosiers. They are in the bottom half of the Big Ten in every offensive metric except free-throw rate. Indiana has the highest free-throw rate in the conference, but only shoots 67.1% when it gets to the line. The good news is Rutgers allows one of the highest free-throw rates in the Big Ten, so Indiana is going to have to rely on a good chunk of its points coming from the charity stripe.
The reason Rutgers is above .500 this season is because of its defense, which allowed 1.01 points per possession and ranked 15th in defensive efficiency per KenPom. The Scarlet Knights only have two weaknesses: 1) free-throw rate allowed, which I mentioned above, and 2) defensive rebounding. The Scarlet Knights have the second-worst free-throw rate in the Big Ten and will need to keep the Hoosiers off the glass if they want to avoid a second-round departure.
When Rutgers has the ball
While Rutgers’ defense has been stellar, the Scarlet Knights’ offense hasn’t been much help this season. Their offense is averaging only 1.01 points per possession and is shooting the ball dreadfully from all over the court.
The Knights also can’t get to the free-throw line, and even when they do, they can’t seem to make anything. They are third-to-last in the Big Ten in free-throw rate and are shooting only 62.4% at the charity stripe. The good news for the Scarlet Knights is they’ll be facing one of the worst defenses in the conference.
Indiana hasn’t been able to stop anybody during their five-game losing streak, as has been the case all season. The Hoosiers are allowing 1.06 points per possession in conference play. They struggle in every defensive metric, so even though Rutgers has struggled offensively, the Knights should be able to score efficiently against Indiana’s defense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both of these offenses have had their issues all season long and I don’t think that’s going to change on Thursday. As long as Rutgers is able to keep Jackson-Davis is check, it should be able to keep Indiana under 65 points. Additionally, both teams play a slower pace than the national average, so a lot of the scoring is likely to come in the half court.
I only have 128.03 points projected for this game, so I think there is a small amount of value on Under 130.5 points or better.
Pick: Under 130.5 points