Follow The Trends & Go 'Under' With Your NCAA Basketball Picks For Michigan vs. Ohio St. Rivalry Game

Willie Bee

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 3:20 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016 3:20 PM GMT

A big battle between Big Ten rivals is part of our Tuesday free NCAA basketball picks schedule as the Ohio State Buckeyes host the Michigan Wolverines on ESPN.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 139
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

If college basketball's regular season schedule was a horse race, we'd be coming out of the final turn and heading down the home stretch. And what a gallop to the wire it should prove to be in the Big Ten Conference.

Eight of the 14 teams in the league are still within three games of first place with 5-6 contests left on their schedules. Each squad would love to finish first and hoist a banner for winning the regular season in their gyms, but if you asked the coaches, they would probably forego a banner in exchange for a guarantee of finishing in the top four to secure a bye for the first two rounds of the conference tourney which gets underway in Indianapolis on March 9.

Two of the teams in the hunt for the 2-round bye are the Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes. The longtime rivals are part of a big basketball betting card on Tuesday, their 7 PM (ET) clash in Columbus to be televised by ESPN. The game was an early pick 'em before Ohio State moved to -1 at Bookmaker where the opening total was 139.

These two rivals are getting together just once this season, unless they were to wind up squaring off in the Big Ten Tournament, which they have done in four of the last six conference tourneys. Ohio State owns a 100-78 advantage in the all-time series, though the Wolverines have taken four of the last five.

The schools split their two meetings last season, each posting home wins the NCAA basketball odds also splitting. The matchup in Columbus was a 71-52 victory for the Buckeyes as 9½ home chalk, and like the contest in Ann Arbor also stayed 'under' the mark. Michigan's last road win in the series was a couple of years ago, the 70-60 final halting a 9-game streak at Value Center Arena for Ohio State. Seven of the last eight on this floor never made it to the totals.

 

Wolverines On Road For 3 of Final 5 Games
Michigan (19-7 straight up, 13-11 against the spread) currently owns the No. 4 slot in the standings, the Wolverines a game behind Maryland and Indiana in a 2nd-place tie and a half-game up on Wisconsin in fifth. John Beilein's boys will spend three of their final five games on the road, visits to Maryland this Sunday and Wisconsin a week after that breaking up home dates with Northwestern and Iowa.

The Wolverines bounced back from consecutive home losses to Indiana and Michigan State a couple of weeks ago with a pair of wins last week, the biggest coming Saturday in Ann Arbor against No. 18 Purdue. A slight underdog in front of the home fans, Michigan scored a 61-56 mild upset thanks to an 11-0 run to end the game. Neither club shot very well, but limiting their turnovers to six and winning the board battle kept the Maize & Blue close. The decision stopped a 4-game streak of losing tickets at home for Michigan backers.

 

Buckeyes Draw Tough Closing Slate
Ohio State (16-10 SU, 13-13 ATS) also won twice a week ago after dropping two contests the previous week. The Buckeyes trekked over to New Jersey this past Sunday and felled Rutgers by a 79-69 count, that final margin not quite enough to cover the -12½ line that Las Vegas burdened OSU bettors with.

Thad Matta was not pleased with his team's intensity during the game, noting the Buckeyes "practiced harder" in the morning shoot-around. The 19 turnovers couldn't have made the Ohio State coach very happy either, as well as missing nearly half of their 15 free throws. The Wolverines will really have to dial things up going down the stretch with their final three games including a home-&-home vs. Michigan State and a home date against Iowa.

My free NCAA basketball pick will be to follow the 'under' trend in this rivalry.

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