Big Ten Serves Up Big Betting Value in College Hoops Thursday

Jay Pryce

Thursday, January 11, 2018 3:05 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 3:05 PM UTC

Thursday's Big Ten schedule has some quality betting value, specifically the Maryland-Ohio State and Iowa-Illinois matchups. Which is the way to go to cash in with your NCAAB picks?

Thursday College Basketball: Maryland vs. Ohio State

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Free NCAAB Pick: Ohio State -5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

Ohio State (13-4 SU, 7-8 ATS) is easily the biggest surprise in the Big Ten, at 4-0 SU and ATS in conference play after a shocking 80-64 rout over top-ranked Michigan State on Sunday. The offense is on fire, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor versus Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, and the Spartans. Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop is the real deal. He leads the conference with 20 points a game and ranks third with 8.8 boards. The Buckeyes are 27-6 SU when big man puts up 14 points or more in a game in his collegiate career.

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He's on 🔥🔥🔥🔥!@OhioStateHoops' @KBD_33 put up video game numbers, again, this past week.

— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) January 9, 2018

Maryland (14-4 SU, 9-5 ATS), meanwhile, can hang with any team offensively, but enters Value City Arena shorthanded. The Terps rank 36th in adjusted efficiency, averaging 77 points per game. Head Coach Mark Turgeon, who fields nine players putting in 10 minutes or more per game, is down to eight scholarship players for Thursday's game. Already missing forwards Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender to season-ending injuries, junior guard Dion Wiley is ruled out after sustaining a concussion against Iowa.

That leaves one sub for a backcourt that is go-to for production. Guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter combine for 30.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Turgeon will go bigger than normal throughout and emphasize staying out of foul trouble. Maryland, road underdogs on the NCAAB odds board, will struggle to find much rhythm across the court with rare personnel sets the norm. For my NCAAB pick I'd lay the 5 points here as the Buckeyes keep rolling.

Thursday College Basketball: Iowa at Illinois

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Free NCAAB Pick: Over 154.5 Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

Your best bet for Iowa (9-9 SU, 5-7 ATS) at Illinois (10-7 SU, 6-6 ATS) on Thursday night is to wager that one will pick up its first Big Ten victory of the season. Each program is winless in conference play -- the Hawkeyes 0-5 SU and 0-4-1 ATS and the Fighting Illini 0-4 SU and 2-1-1 ATS overall -- and Illinois is the home favorite on the NCAAB odds board.

Outside of slumping to defeats in conference, the one constant for both programs is the lack of defense. Illinois is yielding 80.0 points per game on 48.7-percent shooting, while Iowa surrenders 82.4 on 48.6 from the floor. The Hawkeyes are coming off an embarrassingly bad effort in a 91-73 loss at Maryland. The Terps shot 56.6 percent from the floor, the eighth-highest rate given up to a conference opponent since Head Coach Fran McCaffery took over in 2010.

Two quick teams, poor defenses, and wildly different team strengths and weaknesses should make for a high-scoring game. Both teams play faster than average. Illinois ranks 44th in tempo and Iowa 72nd, according to KenPom. Illinois excels at generating second-chance opportunities and easy transition baskets. It forces 18.5 turnovers per game (fifth nationally) and owns a 35.5 offensive rebound rate (eighth). The Hawkeyes, meanwhile, are smooth with the ball and can create plenty of scoring chances. Their .665 assists-to-field goals made rate is third-best in the country. One, if not both offenses, click under these conditions. One will reach 80-plus points and the other will not be far behind. For my NCAAB pick I'm going with the over of 154.5 to cash.

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