Betting Strategies for Ohio State-Indiana Big Ten Matchup

Rainman M.

Friday, February 23, 2018 1:03 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 23, 2018 1:03 PM UTC

In its final home game of the season, Indiana looks for an upset win vs. No. 16 Ohio State tonight at 8 ET. The Buckeyes are favored by 1.5 points and the total is set at 137.5.

No. 16 Ohio State (23-7 SU, 15-13 ATS) at Indiana (16-13 SU, 16-11-2 ATS)Free NCAAB Picks: Indiana & Under 137.5Best Lines Offered: Heritage

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Both teams have been consistent 'under' teams with their over/under record a combined 10-24 in Big Ten play.

Two of Indiana's eight conference home games have gone 'over.' One was a coin-flip against Penn State that played at faster-than-expected tempo. The other was against Illinois, whose pressure defense forced 18 turnovers. The turnovers provided quick points for Illinois and upped the game tempo.

When Indiana and Ohio State first played on Jan. 30, Ohio State covered in a 71-56 win that stayed 'under.' I think tonight's game stays 'under' while this time Indiana covers because IU's defense will limit OSU to fewer than 71 points. In the first matchup, star Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop had a strong offensive performance, with 13 points off 5-for-10 shooting inside the arc and with 5 assists. In his past three games, he is shooting 29.6% from two and has combined four assists. Bates-Diop averages 6.4 points per game more than the next highest-scoring Buckeye, so OSU's scoring will diminish without his good form. But also overall, OSU's scoring has struggled on the road, failing to eclipse 64 points in its last three road games. Its field-goal percentage dips from 48.72% overall to 45.22% on the road.

IU is built to be a solid 'under' bet with its tempo that ranks outside the top 200 and its vastly improved defense, which ranked last in the conference in KenPom's defensive efficiency last year, but ranks fourth this year. It is strongest inside the arc, ranking fourth in opposing two-point percentage, which is important because OSU relies more than every other Big Ten team besides one on scoring inside the arc.

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#HoosierNation, the seniors have a request for tomorrow night...#IUBB

— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) February 22, 2018

OSU's defense is also slow tempo and markedly improved. It had ranked second-to-last last year in efficiency and now ranks best in the conference. It has the second-best interior defense, so its defense matches up well against IU, which attempts the ninth-lowest proportion of threes. OSU 'overs' have come when it had a miraculous shooting performance (like vs. Maryland), when the tempo was very fast (vs. Iowa) or when its opponent was draining an insane proportion of threes (vs. Penn State) and none of those seem likely tonight.

Turnovers won't be problematic for the total. OSU ranks 10th in the Big Ten in forcing turnovers. IU did surrender 19 turnovers in its last game at Nebraska, but a third of those came from guard Devonte Green who, like his teammates, is normally way more ball-secure at home. Green averages only 1.4 turnovers per game in Big Ten play (not counting the games against Illinois).

While OSU is on a two-game road ATS slide, IU is 8-0 ATS at home in conference play. Despite KenPom predicting a three-point win for OSU, the Buckeyes have opened as only 1-point favorites on our NCAAB oddsboard. Oddsmakers may be trying to account for IU's home-court advantage--perhaps extra so for senior day -- or begging for OSU money. Also note that Big Ten home dogs are 11-1-1 ATS in rematches after losing the first game

I like the 'under,' but I suggest waiting before betting on IU. Consider that a possession is normally worth two points. If you bet on the Hoosiers as underdogs of less than two points, you are basically asking them to win. Let the spread be bet up to +2 (or buy a half point) so that IU has extra dog value on our NCAAB Picks.

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