NCAA Tournament Betting Picks: Ohio State vs. Arizona

Darin Zank

Friday, March 20, 2015 2:19 PM GMT

Second-seeded Arizona cruised to an opening-round NCAA tournament victory Thursday over Texas Southern, while Ohio State battled through a tough overtime contest with VCU. The Wildcats are almost double-digit favorites for their Saturday afternoon clash with the Buckeyes in Portland.

Wildcats-Buckeyes Betting Odds
The NCAA Tournament odds opened this game with Arizona favored by nine points, the total posted at 140. Both those numbers were holding steady in the early betting.

Those thinking Ohio State might pull the upset in this spot could get +411 on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

 

Wildcats-Buckeyes: The Match-Up
Ohio State advanced to Saturday's round of 32 by outlasting VCU Thursday 75-72 in overtime. The Buckeyes trailed by as much as a dozen points in the first half, but quickly rallied, and the game went back and forth from there. In the end Ohio State shot 49 percent from the floor, helped along by a 10-for-20 performance from D'Angelo Russell, who also hit four-of-seven 3-pointers.

The Buckeyes pushed the spread Thursday as three-point favorites when they allowed a meaningless basket with one second left in the overtime.

Also, that game was an UNDER through regulation, but played OVER its total of 138 in the overtime.

Ohio State is now 5-4 SU, 3-5-1 ATS over its last nine games; also, with Thursday's victory the Buckeyes are still only 4-9 SU, 3-9-1 ATS this season against teams that made the NCAA Tournament.

On the heavy side of this match-up Arizona advanced to Saturday with a 93-72 victory Thursday over Texas Southern, its 12th win in a row. The Wildcats led the Tigers by 21 at the half, and by 26 with three minutes to go, but gave up the last four meaningless points of the game and lost the cover as 23-point favorites.

The 'Cats shot 60 percent from the floor Thursday, made 24 of 27 free-throws and held a 35-19 advantage on the glass.

Also, that game flew OVER its total of 135, with help from an 87-point first half.

Including Thursday's victory Arizona is now 11-0 SU, 6-5 ATS against teams that made the NCAA tournament this season.

These teams met two Marches ago, when Ohio State beat Arizona in a West Region semifinal in Los Angeles 73-70. But that outcome plays no part in our handicapping of Saturday's game.

 

Wildcats-Buckeyes, By the Numbers
On the season Ohio State is shooting almost 49 percent from the field, which ranks in the top ten in the country, while holding foes to 40.5 percent shooting.

Arizona is shooting just over 49 percent from the floor, fourth-best in the country, while limiting foes to 39 percent shooting.

 

Wildcats-Buckeyes Betting Trends
Ohio State is 17-14 on the totals this season, as Buckeyes games are averaging 138 points.

Arizona is 16-19 on the totals, as Wildcats games are averaging 136 points.

 

Wildcats-Buckeyes Free Pick
Arizona could have covered the spread Thursday if it had kept its foot on the gas; that shouldn't be a problem Saturday. During their 12-game winning streak the Wildcats have gone 9-3 ATS, covering several numbers much larger than the one posted on this game. Also, when it comes to Ohio State we still have visions of that 24-point home loss to Wisconsin 12 days ago. So we like the 'Cats in this spot, minus the points for our NCAA tournament picks.

Free NCAA Tournament Pick: Arizona -8.5 at BetOnline

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